Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Speedway expects 70,000 for Busch



By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

More than 70,000 fans will descend on Sparta, Ky., Saturday, turning the rural area into a NASCAR community at Kentucky Speedway for the Meijer 300.

The NASCAR Busch Series race, now in its third year at Kentucky Speedway, begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, and boasts the track's largest purse at $1,247,798. The Busch race has sold out the previous two years, and is Kentucky Speedway's premier event of the summer racing season that begins with the ARCA RE/MAX race in May, and ends with the Indy Racing League in August.

Track officials said Monday that sales are approaching another sellout for the 66,089-seat facility, but that tickets ranging from $45-$75 still remain. Standing room only tickets will be available for $10.

Qualifying starts at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by the Kentucky 150, a Kodak Southeastern Elite Series race at 9 p.m. Tickets are available for Friday for $30.

Todd Bodine, last year's Busch Series winner at Kentucky, who also races on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, will defend his title. Bodine enters the race occupying third place in the Busch Series season standings, 24 points off the lead.

Without a Winston Cup race, Kentucky runs the Meijer 300 as a standalone Busch race, one of eight such tracks to do so. Speedway officials hope that repeated good showings at the Busch Series race will translate into NASCAR awarding the track with a Winston Cup race for the 2004 season.

The Busch Series is NASCAR's second-best series, one notch above the Craftsman Truck Series, which also races at Kentucky in July.

"We can't get the Busch race any bigger than it already is here," track owner Jerry Carroll said. "We're ready to go, and optimistic about our Winston Cup credentials."




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