Thursday, May 22, 2008

Boogity Boogity Boogity -- Let's go racing at taxpayers' expense

Owensboro native and three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip begins each Fox telecast of a stock car race with the phrase "Boogity Boogity Boogity, let's go racing boys!"

Gov. Steve Beshear is taking Ol' DW's advice and is going to boogity on down to North Carolina this weekend at taxpayers' expense to lobby for a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

Beshear didn't waste any time making political hay out of today's announcement that Kentucky Speedway has been sold to Speedway Motorsports Inc. SMI owns several racetracks where NASCAR holds Sprint Cup races, most notably Atlanta, Bristol and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.

Kentucky NASCAR fans have long wanted one of the races in the top touring series to be held at Kentucky Speedway. The speedway even sued NASCAR in an unsuccessful attempt to have the sanctioning body hold a race there.

Now, with the purchase of Kentucky Speedway by SMI, rumors are rampant that SMI chair Bruton Smith will be moving a race from his New Hampshire track to Kentucky.

The deal was announced informally this morning by Jerry Carroll and the formal announcement is to come in Charlotte, the site of this weekend's Coca-Cola 600.

This afternoon, Beshear's press office issued a statement in which Beshear essentially tries to take some credit for the sale.

But here's the kicker: "To make sure we don't lose any momentum, I will be traveling to North Carolina for the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend to visit with Bruton and get specific about how we will work together to bring a Sprint Cup race to Kentucky Speedway."

Beshear may be trying to take some credit for the sale, and no doubt he will do the same if a Cup race comes to Kentucky, but he'll be doing so at the expense of the truth (which is common for this inept governor).

Waltrip has long been involved with the speedway, and a statue representing him after he won the 1989 Daytona 500 stands in front of the gift shop. Waltrip is also a conservative Republican who supported Ernie Fletcher, recorded commercials for him and other Republican politicians, and has been rumored to be giving thought to moving back to Kentucky and running for governor someday.

Waltrip's efforts have done more to promote the speedway than anything Beshear's done, yet he'll be right out in front if there ever is a big announcement that a Cup race is coming to Sparta.

And in the name of economic development, we (meaning the taxpayers of Kentucky, not just the proprietors of this blog) will be paying for Beshear to attend one of the biggest NASCAR races of the year.

Boogity Boogity Boogity, indeed.

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