Pocono racetrack not for sale

May 27, 2008 2:10:29 PM PDT
Pocono Raceway is not for sale. Rose Mattioli told The Associated Press on Tuesday that her family has no plans to sell the NASCAR track, which currently has two Sprint Cup races.

"It never was available; it never will be available," said Mattioli, who owns the track with her husband, Joseph. "My husband has stated that over and again. That's it."

Mattioli said that Pocono Raceway was entrusted to their grandchildren and they will continue to help run the 2½-mile triangle track.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. purchased Kentucky Speedway last week and there was speculation SMI owner Bruton Smith had his eye on Pocono. If he bought that track, he could have moved one or both its dates to any of his speedways.

"They're always looking here," she said. "We get phone calls all the time."

The 81-year-old Smith told the AP he had not spoken with the Mattiolis about purchasing the track, which is outside New York City and Philadelphia.

Joseph Mattioli, the Pocono Raceway board chairman, brought NASCAR to the Poconos over a plate of fried chicken with Bill France in 1972.

In the mid-1970s, when the CART-USAC fight helped cause financial problems at the track, Mattioli wanted to sell until he received a call from France Sr. The two met in New York and France persuaded Mattioli to ride out the downturn and keep the track.

Rose Mattioli said she hoped there was NASCAR racing on the mountaintop for "as long as my husband and I live, as long as our grandkids live."

Smith said he's had some conversations with the owners of Dover International Raceway. Pocono, Dover and Indianapolis are the only three tracks on the current Cup schedule owned by track operators other than SMI or International Speedway Inc.

Smith remains determined to get Kentucky a Sprint Cup race, even though NASCAR said last week 2009 is out of the question.

"There is a way, but the main problem would be timing," Smith said. "We have a short stick here on the timing, as NASCAR would like to get this schedule out by September. But (NASCAR chairman) Brian France is correct when he says I have not asked about a date."

--- AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.