NASCAR and its ruling France family won a big court victory Friday as the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favour of NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the former owners of Kentucky Speedway.

But the decision by a three-judge panel, which allows NASCAR to continue to award Sprint Cup race dates as it currently does, actually could lead to Kentucky Speedway getting a Cup date as early as 2011, since NASCAR has told new Kentucky owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. that it would not consider a realignment request until the case is resolved.

"I'm not going to have any comment on when a Cup race can be there other than to say we're just very pleased," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "It validates our business model and everything else. It's a big, big ruling."

The founders of Kentucky Speedway have only two potential appeals left: They can ask for a hearing in front of all of the 24 appeals court judges, and they also can appeal to the US Supreme Court. Both avenues are considered long shots.

Kentucky Speedway founder Jerry Carroll said he personally feels that the case is over but needs to consult with the others in the former ownership group.

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