Speedway Motorsports Adds MBNA, Bass Pro Shops Sponsorship; Tremendous Fan Interest Forces Revision of Las Vegas Construction Plans


CONCORD, N.C., Mar 6, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Officials of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:TRK) today announced a major event sponsorship agreement among MBNA America, Bass Pro Shops and Atlanta Motor Speedway and the revision of construction plans that will add 15,000 permanent seats to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The sponsorship agreement among Atlanta Motor Speedway; MBNA America, the world's largest independent credit card lender; and Bass Pro Shops, the nations leading outdoor retailer, will result in Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup event being known as the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.

"Being a sponsor of one of the biggest single-day sporting events in Georgia continues MBNA's decade-long relationship with Atlanta Motor Speedway, one of our valued customers," said Richard K. Struthers, executive vice chairman of MBNA American Bank.

Bass Pro Shops is beginning its foray into race sponsorship with this partnership. Headquartered in Springfield, Mo., Bass Pro Shops operates stores in 14 cities nationwide, including Atlanta.

The Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 is the culmination of an action-packed weekend of racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Action begins Friday with Georgia Power Qualifying and continues Saturday when the up-and-coming stars of the ARCA RE/MAX series compete in a 400-mile event.

For information about the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Great seats are available by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet.

Speedway Motorsports officials also unveiled plans for the construction of a 21,000-seat structure at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to be known as the Earnhardt Terrace. Approximately 6,000 current seats will be removed to make way for the Earnhardt Terrace, resulting in a net gain of 15,000 seats.

Officials previously announced intentions to construct just 10,000 additional seats at the Las Vegas facility, but tremendous fan interest in the new seats resulted in the numbers being revised.

"The decision to build the Earnhardt Terrace is indicative of the great support for motorsports in the Las Vegas community," said Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports. "In the four years since SMI acquired Las Vegas Motor Speedway, we've experienced tremendous growth and found Las Vegas to be a perfect home for racing. This addition will afford us the opportunity to bring thousands of new race fans into Las Vegas and provide another large boost to the Nevada economy."

LVMS General Manager Chris Powell said the speedway had been searching for a fitting way to honor Dale Earnhardt since his death in February, 2001.

"We've been communicating with Teresa (Earnhardt) on this for several weeks," Powell said. "She's been wonderful to work with. We agree the only way to honor Dale is in a first-class manner, befitting his commitment to excellence.

"Seats in the Earnhardt Terrace will offer the finest views in motorsports. In addition to seeing great racing action, fans also will have a tremendous view of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip."

The Earnhardt Terrace will tower over the existing grandstand that sits adjacent to the beginning of the frontstretch. The structure will include a mezzanine level that features concession stands and restrooms. Powell said the new seats will bring additional fans and thus additional revenue to the state.

"The Earnhardt Terrace will magnify our positive impact on the local economy," Powell said. "It will impact everything; hotel rooms, restaurants, airlines, car rentals and, of course, gaming. The list goes on and on."

Ticket holders to this year's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 will have first opportunity to upgrade to the new seats. Public sale of tickets will begin in September. However, race fans may call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-644-4444 to be placed on a waiting list.

Speedway Motorsports is a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. The Company owns and operates the following premier facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. The Company provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiary, and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars through its 600 Racing subsidiary. The Company also owns Performance Racing Network which produces, distributes and broadcasts over 450 syndicated motorsports programs each year to an aggregate nationwide network of more than 730 radio stations. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.gospeedway.com.

CONTACT: Speedway Motorsports
Lauri Wilks or Sarah Ackerman, 704/455-3239

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SOURCE: Speedway Motorsports