Track backers make Seattle pitch

Supporters of the proposed South Kitsap NASCAR racetrack will make a high visibility pitch to the Seattle business elite on Friday. Members of the Port Orchard-based Checkered Flag Club will address the Columbia Tower Club, following a presentation with a question-and-answer session.

“We’ll talk about the benefits to King County and the rest of the state,” said club president Rick Flaherty. “We don’t plan to address the financing package in the presentation, but I expect we will get a lot of questions about this.”

Flaherty said he expects quality-of-life and economic improvements will provide the basis for his presentation. Attorney Jay Reich, who is intimately familiar with the proposed financial terms, will be on hand to answer questions in that area.

Flaherty said he can argue the benefits of the racetrack by heart and “probably won’t have to do any more studying” to prepare the presentation.

Flaherty said he didn’t know who would be in the Checkered Flag delegation, aside from club member Pete Crane. He has invited elected officials from both sides of Puget Sound but does not know who plans to attend since the club maintains the RSVP list.

The club reported Monday that 20 people had so far responded to the invitation, out of a projected reservation sheet of 50.

The event is closed to the public, with no one admitted without an invitation. There is also a dress code, with Checkered Flag members having to leave their standard attire at home: Ties are not required but tennis shoes, denim jeans, denim clothing,  t-shirts, or athletic wear are not permitted in the Club.

“I don‘t usually wear a tie,” Flaherty said. “I haven’t decided yet whether to wear a baseball hat.’

The International Speedway Corp. (ISC) made a commitment to build a Kitsap County racetrack in April 2005.

Since that time, the idea has met with everything from enthusiastic support to passive resistance, prompting ISC to state that it needs to see substantial community backing if it is to continue its plans to build the project.

While the Checkered Flag Club is not directly affiliated with ISC, this Friday’s meeting is meant to raise the track’s visibility in a positive way.

ISC also plans a meeting with state legislators at the end of May in order to generate such support.

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