Kansas Speedway renames NASCAR race in anticipation of legalized sports betting

Fans were allowed back into Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway Sunday, May 2, 2021. Kyle Busch was the winner.

Fans were allowed back into Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway Sunday, May 2, 2021. Kyle Busch was the winner.

jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

Newly legalized sports betting in Kansas has made its way to the race track.

Kansas Speedway’s upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race will be renamed to Hollywood Casinos 400 presented by Barstool Sportsbook, the track announced Wednesday.

The increased partnership between the nearby Hollywood Casino and Kansas Speedway comes as the casino is building a brick-and-mortar sportsbook named “Barstool Sportsbook” for fans to wager on NASCAR and other sports during the Sept. 9-11 race weekend.

NASCAR Hall of Famer and broadcast analyst Rusty Wallace announced the renaming of the race and the building of the sportsbook at a press conference Wednesday.

He was present when other race tracks in North Carolina and Arizona announced similar sports betting initiatives.

“What I’ve noticed is it just gives fans a whole different level of something to do,” Wallace said.

Wallace believes sports betting and NASCAR are a good fit given the unpredictability of sport with its new Next Gen car and tight competition. At the race held in May, Kurt Busch came on top for his first Kansas Speedway win after 41 lead changes.

“Every race weekend, I used to say (the winner) is going to be the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski, because I know that team, and it’s going to maybe be Kevin Harvick,” Wallace said. “And I was right many, many times.”

“Nowadays, I have no idea. I really don’t. I don’t know who’s going to win this thing. It’s just that unpredictable, but the competition is fantastic.”

Kansas joined the growing list of states that legalized sports betting June 1 after Gov. Laura Kelly signed SB 84 in May, but both online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks have to pass regulatory processes first.

Hollywood Casino general manager Rick Skinner said he’s hopeful at least a temporary facility for the casino’s sportsbook will be open in time for the September race, if not the beginning of the NFL season. The casino has already cleared out physical space for the Barstool Sportsbook near the patio overlooking Kansas Speedway.

“You could see retail open first (before online and mobile betting) because that’s sort of the easiest thing as far as licensing and getting proper approvals from regulators,” Skinner said.

The casino is currently in the process of finalizing regulations with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and a contract addendum with the Kansas Lottery, Skinner said.

Given the Kansas City, Kansas track’s close proximity to Missouri, as well, Skinner is hoping the sportsbook will attract Missouri residents as well, who can legally bet as long as they are within Kansas state borders, according to SB 84.

“If we can base it on anything that’s been going on this year, man, we are ready for a big, big race on September 11,” Wallace said.

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