BY TOM GROESCHEN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip joined the Kentucky Speedway development team Monday as a paid consultant. His biggest job could be convincing NASCAR to bring a Winston Cup race here.
Waltrip, 51, has known NASCAR President Bill France Jr. for nearly 30 years. He could help persuade France, who sets the annual Winston Cup schedule, to bring NASCAR's big league to the area. Jerry Carroll, prime developer of the speedway, has been pursuing Waltrip for about a year. Waltrip's clout and expertise lend more credibility to the project, Carroll said at a news conference Monday at his Turfway Park horse track.
"Everything we do is calculated toward the next step," Carroll said. "We have to work hard now to get the race track built."
Construction began Aug. 3 near Sparta, Ky., 35 miles southwest of Cincinnati.
"The biggest thing I'll try to impress on Mr. France is that things are being done the right way here," Waltrip said. The track is scheduled for completion June 1, 2000.
"I've been around for 30 years, and I'm sure this is the first time a driver has been asked to help design a track," Waltrip said. Waltrip, a three-time Winston Cup champion, also will promote the track's personal seat license (PSL) campaign with a six-city tour of the region, kicking off Sept. 15 at a Cincinnati site to be announced.
The tour also goes to Columbus (Sept. 23), Lexington and Louisville (both Sept. 29), Indianapolis (Oct. 7) and Dayton (Oct. 14). The personal seat license campaign runs through Oct. 31. Call 1-888-652-RACE.