Key moments in Kentucky Speedway history

August 11, 2010 

KEY MOMENTS of KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

January 1998: Former Turfway Park owner Jerry Carroll announces plans to build a $130 million auto racing track between Cincinnati and Louisville along Interstate 71 in Gallatin County.

June 16, 2000: Completed at a cost of $152 million, Kentucky Speedway opens.

June 17, 2000: A crowd of 63,750 endures rain and muddy parking lots to see Greg Biffle capture the first major event at the speedway, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 225. Thousands of others trying to see the race never make it — rain and inadequate roads around the track leave traffic backed up for 20 miles along I-71.

Aug. 27, 2000: Buddy Lazier wins the first IndyCar Series event before 61,214.

Aug. 29, 2000: NASCAR announces it has granted Kentucky Speedway a 2001 date on the Busch Grand National (now Nationwide) Series.

June 16, 2001: Kevin Harvick wins the first Busch race before 70,388.

Aug. 11, 2002: Trying to break into IndyCar racing, actor Jason Priestley suffers a concussion and fractures to his thoracic spine and feet after crashing into the wall at 180 mph in the second turn during practice for the IRL's Infiniti Series. He eventually makes a full recovery but gives up oval racing.

June 18, 2005: Carroll says Kentucky Speedway is through trying to earn a Cup Series date and will switch to a more aggressive strategy.

July 13, 2005: Kentucky Speedway files a federal anti-trust suit against NASCAR and the International Speedway Corp.

Aug. 14, 2005: A crowd of 62,595 watches IndyCar star Danica Patrick make her Kentucky debut. She finishes 16th.

Aug. 11, 2007: Dario Franchitti, husband of Kentucky icon Ashley Judd, flips his IndyCar after finishing eighth in the Meijer Indy 300. He walks away from the wreck.

Sept. 13, 2007: NASCAR CEO Brian France tells The Wall Street Journal that Kentucky Speedway's anti-trust suit is "selfish."

Jan. 7, 2008: A federal judge in Covington dismisses Kentucky Speedway's antitrust lawsuit.

Jan. 11, 2008: Kentucky Speedway appeals the dismissal.

May 22, 2008: Speedway Motorsports Inc. announces it has purchased Kentucky Speedway. SMI Chairman Bruton Smith says he plans for there to be a Cup Series race in Kentucky in 2009.

Dec. 18, 2009: Kentucky Speedway's former owners drop their appeal, apparently clearing the way for NASCAR to move a Sprint Cup race to Sparta. But 11 days later, one of the former minority owners sues Carroll, extending the appeal.

May 3, 2010: Carroll and the other former Speedway owner reach a settlement, and the appeal is finally dropped.

June 12, 2010: Joey Logano becomes the first Nationwide Series driver to win three consecutive races at the same track when starting from the pole as he holds off Carl Edwards to win the Meijer 300.

Aug. 10, 2010: Twelve years of dreaming of the big time come to fruition when Smith announces Kentucky Speedway will host a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the night of July 9, 2011.

COMPILED BY MARK STORY

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