Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith announced today that Kentucky Speedway will play host to its inaugural 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 9, 2011.

"The passionate NASCAR fans throughout Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati have deserved a Sprint Cup Race for a long time. Before this, racing in Kentucky was about horses, but now it's all about more horsepower. We're going to create the grandest sports event in the history of the state in 2011, and any fan that comes here will know what it means to be 'Lucky in Kentucky,'" Smith said.

The Sparta, Ky., venue will become the 23rd motorsports facility on the 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule and the first facility to be added to the national tour since Chicagoland Speedway made its debut July 15, 2001 and Kansas Speedway staged its first series race on Sept. 29, 2001.

Kentucky Speedway will be the eighth SMI facility to welcome the premier American stock car racing series which features former Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Nationwide Series 300-mile race winners Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch along with four-time series champions Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

"I am thrilled that all the hard work of my administration to bring a NASCAR Sprint Cup race to Kentucky has finally paid off," Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said. "The legislation we proposed, pushed and I signed amending our Tourism Development Act to attract legacy expansion projects to Kentucky was critical in bringing this race to Kentucky. In addition to the excitement this race will bring to race fans, it will have an unparalleled economic impact on the region."

Kentucky Speedway played host to its first major NASCAR-sanctioned event on its 1.5-mile tri-oval track on June 17, 2000 and witnessed current Sprint Cup Series mainstay Greg Biffle score a 225-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. The track first welcomed the Nationwide Series on June 16, 2001 and saw current Sprint Cup Series championship leader Harvick race to Victory Lane. Overall, Kentucky Speedway has played host to a combined 20 Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series events as well as a variety of NASCAR developmental touring stock car series through its 11-year history.

"The arrival of Sprint Cup racing in Kentucky is a testament to the consistently solid support our corporate partners and avid fan base in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., and Louisville, Ky., has provided our events since 2000. Our facility was constructed with the goal of attracting Sprint Cup racing to the Commonwealth and we thank all whose efforts made that goal a reality. We're looking forward creating a supercharged atmosphere for our first Sprint Cup Series weekend," Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger said.

Tickets for the 2011 Kentucky Speedway season highlighted by the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be offered on a priority basis to current holders of season ticket plans, Kentucky Club, Bluegrass Club, season Private, Reserved and Infield camp sites. The general public may immediately secure priority notice for the acquisition of 2011 season ticket plans / season camp sites by placing a non-refundable, $50 deposit per season ticket plan / season camp site with Kentucky Speedway. Phone 859-578-2300, choose option "2," or visit the "Tickets" page of http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com for information and to review the full 2011 ticket policy. Season ticket plans for 2010 also remain available.

The Kentucky NASCAR Sprint Cup Series announcement comes three weeks prior to the final weekend of 2010 Kentucky Speedway season which will "Celebrate Speed" by placing the spotlight on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" Sept. 3 along with the IZOD IndyCar Series "Kentucky Indy 300," Firestone Indy Lights "Drive Smart. Buckle-Up Kentucky 100" and country music supergroup Diamond Rio in concert Sept. 4.

Single-race tickets for the track's inaugural Labor Day event weekend can be reserved through the tickets pages of www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-7223 (RACE) or by visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., next to the Montgomery Inn Restaurant or the Fan Center located off of Interstate 71, Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N in Sparta, Ky. Tickets additionally are available through tickets.com outlets.

RESERVE 2011 SEASON TICKETS.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~Kentucky Speedway ~