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Auto Racing Theme Parks Spring Up in US

NASCAR, stock car racing's sanctioning body, is trying hard to take advantage of auto racing's stature as the fastest growing sport in America.

The latest announcement out of Daytona Beach, Fla., says NASCAR will join baseball and Callaway Golf Co. in licensing a series of interactive theme parks to be known as All-American SportsParks.

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NASCAR will also operate some of the parks independently, calling those NASCAR SpeedParks.

The first facility is scheduled to open in late summer 1996 in Irvine, Calif., with a site in Las Vegas to follow. Eight other parks could open by the end of 1997 with Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, the New Jersey Meadowlands, Orlando, and Detroit among the potential sites.

Each park will allow as many as 25 drivers to wheel NASCAR stock karts or NASCAR SuperTruck karts around a 450-foot, high-banked oval or a 1,000-foot undulating road course. Drivers will race in identical replicas of actual cars or trucks. All will be built by Roush Racing of Livonia, Mich., which fields cars for Mark Martin and Ted Musgrave for NASCAR's Winston Cup series.

A size limit will apply to drivers. Smaller tracks and karts are being developed for younger drivers.

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