Kentucky Speedway announced its 2003 schedule today and will feature the return of eight racing series to the 1.5-mile tri-oval track during four weekends in May, June, July and August.

The NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Indy Racing League and ARCA RE/MAX Series all return for main events at the $152-million speedway. Support series returning to the state-of-the-art facility include the NASCAR All Pro, NASCAR Goody's Dash Series and Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series. The schedule also includes a May 9 celebrity event that will showcase NASCAR Winston Cup stars signing autographs and racing on the quarter-mile short track.

2003 season tickets go on sale Monday, October 14, 2002, and single event ticket sales begin Monday, January 6, 2003. Season ticket holders will receive more benefits than ever before, including parking and pit passes as well as extra tickets to race events. Phone 1-888-652-RACE or visit www.kentuckyspeedway.com for complete schedule and ticket information.

Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis announced the upcoming ledger, which features a realignment of the returning series and Kentucky Speedway's first all open-wheel weekend. All races will enjoy national live or tape delay television exposure.

"I'm very pleased with our new race schedule for 2003 and that we'll continue to showcase our facility and events through extensive national and local television coverage," Cassis said. "By hosting each series one time, we'll provide greater balance and maintain our tradition of delivering a variety of motorsports action to our fans.

"Of course, the race schedule is just the foundation from which to build upon as each weekend will include special musical entertainment and festivities for the whole family. We've developed a reputation of doing things bigger and better, and we won't disappoint in 2003."

The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns for opening weekend May 9-10 and "The Channel 5-205." WLWT-TV 5, Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, returns as the title sponsor and will again televise the race live to the Greater Cincinnati market. The race distance increases 50 miles from the 2002 event and will be the series only Kentucky performance of 2003. Four-time series champion and three-time Kentucky Speedway champion Frank Kimmel is expected to lead the talented race field that includes hard-charging young drivers Chad Blount and Chase Montgomery. Last season, Blount won the August "Blue Grass Quality Meats 200" and finished second in "The Channel 5-155" in May. In addition to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver short track exhibition and autograph session, the May 9 evening also will feature ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying and "Happy Hour" final practice.

The NASCAR Busch Series returns to anchor the June 13-14 weekend and will be joined by the NASCAR All Pro Series. The event has attracted back-to-back overflow crowds of more than 71,000 and 70,000 to set the standing Greater Cincinnati single sports event attendance record in both 2002 and 2001. Last season, 50 drivers attempted to qualify for 43 spots in "The Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo." The $1.2 million purse ranked second only to Daytona International Speedway's among the circuit's 34 events last season. The $83,650 first-place prize sparked one of the closest race finishes in series and Kentucky Speedway history as veteran Todd Bodine edged a sliding Greg Biffle by 0.036 seconds at the finish line.

The speedway's July 11-12 weekend will feature the return of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Goody's Dash Series. In 2002, Kentucky's event became the second fastest race in the storied eight-year history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as veteran driver Mike Bliss out drove the 36-machine field in an event that averaged a speed of 143.515 mph. Bliss also set a series record for widest margin of victory at Kentucky Speedway by bettering the second-place Dennis Setzer by 18.197 seconds.

The first all open-wheel race weekend commences Aug. 16-17 when the Indy Racing League (IRL) and Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series return to close the season at respective speeds of more than 220 mph and 180 mph. The race weekend moves to the third week of August for the first time. The 2002 "The Belterra Casino Indy 300" made history as 21-year-old IRL driver Sarah Fisher became the first ever woman to win the pole position for a North American open-wheel race and Brazilian Felipe Giaffone became Kentucky Speedway's first international champion. Series stakes will rise in 2003 with the arrival of accomplished Team KOOL Green drivers Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kaanan as they transition to the IRL from the CART circuit.

Kentucky Speedway 2003 Race Schedule
Weekend No. 1
Friday, May 9 ARCA RE/MAX Series Pole Day
ARCA RE/MAX Series "Happy Hour" Final Practice
NASCAR Winston Cup Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series Driver Autograph Session
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Driver Legends Series Exhibition

(Quarter-mile track)
Time TBD
 
Saturday, May 10 ARCA RE/MAX Series "The Channel 5-205"
8:00 p.m.*
(Televised LIVE locally on WLWT-TV Channel 5 and
nationally on Speed Channel)
 
Weekend No. 2
Friday, June 13 The Lexington Herald-Leader Pole Night
NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying
NASCAR All Pro Series "The Kentucky 150"

8:00 p.m.*
(Televised nationally on Speed Channel - Tape Delay)
 
Saturday, June 14 NASCAR Busch Series "The Kentucky 300"
8:00 p.m.*
(Televised live nationally on FX)
 
Weekend No. 3
Friday, July 11 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying
NASCAR Goody's Dash Series "The Kentucky 150"

8:00 p.m.*
(Televised nationally on Speed Channel - Tape Delay)
 
Saturday, July 12 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "The Kentucky 225"
8:00 p.m.*
(Televised live nationally on Speed Channel)
 
Weekend No. 4
Saturday, August 16 Indy Racing League Qualifying
Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series Qualifying
Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series "The Kentucky 100"

8:00 p.m.*
 
Sunday, August 17 Indy Racing League "Belterra Casino Indy 300"
2:00 p.m.*
(Televised live nationally on ABC)
 
*ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN DAYLIGHT AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE

~ Kentucky Speedway ~