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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (TheStreet) -- If the spending habits of Nascar fans can be thought of as an economic indicator, then investors should perhaps beware a pit stop on the road to recovery.

Investors groaned their disapproval at

International Speedway's

(ISCA) - Get International Speedway Corporation Class A Report

third-quarter financial results Thursday, as much as readers probably groaned at the tortured metaphor of the previous sentence.

Before the opening bell, the racetrack operator and Nascar event promoter reported an 89% drop in quarterly profit, missing Wall Street expectations.

Shares of the company declined nearly 2% to $27.61 early in Thursday's regular session.

Car-racing attendance has continued to fall as the recession produces its obvious effects: people cutting back on their discretionary spending and therefore such items as tickets to sporting events.

(The company also blamed its third-quarter performance on a scheduling shift: a Southern California Nascar race that took place in third quarter of 2008 won't be run until this year's fourth quarter, deflating the company's proceeds in the just ended third period.)

The short-term outlook for International Speedway, which owns the legendary Daytona International Speedway, also seemed to hold the prospect of some rough travel. The company in its press release said it "expects consumer and corporate spending trends to continue to be impacted by challenging economic conditions well into next year."

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Though the company essentially maintained its financial guidance for the rest of the year, it said it will delay issuing any 2010 forecasts by about a month (from December to January) as it waits for "greater visibility" into how its businesses are performing.

In a bid to entice penny-pinching race fans back into the grandstands and infields, International Speedway has had to cut prices on certain kinds of tickets. It indicated Thursday that it will broaden that policy. In a statement, CEO Lesa France Kennedy said, "Based on the challenging economic outlook for next year and its potential impact on our fan base, we have expanded our reduced pricing initiatives for the 2010 season to include over a half million NASCAR Sprint Cup tickets."

Excluding charges, International Speedway posted an adjusted profit of $15.9 million, or 33 cents a share, below the 38 cents analysts were expecting. A year ago, the company showed adjusted earnings of $35.6 million, or 73 cents a share.

Among the charges the company took in the period were a $13 million writedown in the value of a racetrack in Staten Island. Taking into account this and other items, International Speedway earned $4.4. million in the quarter, or 9 cents a share, compared to net income of nearly $40 million, or 79 cents a share.

Revenue also missed Wall Street forecasts. The company's third-quarter top line came to about $173 million; analysts were expecting $179 million. In the year-ago period, revenue amounted to $213 million.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.