As expected, unemployment drove down ticket sales for International Speedway and TheStreet.com told you it would in Debra Borchardt's video that ran on last Thursday.

Indeed, even NASCAR outfits can't outrace the economic slowdown.

International Speedway ( ISCA), the corporate home of two of racing's premiere venues in Daytona and Talladega, swung to a loss in the second quarter thanks to drooping sales for advance tickets and other items.

The Florida-based racetrack operator said revenue slumped 12.9% to $152.4 million from a year earlier.

In the process, ISC posted a $31.7 million net loss, or 65 cents per share. In the year-ago period, ISC reported a net income of $26 million, or 52 cents per share.

But after excluding certain items, the company reported a non-GAAP net income of $17 million, or 35 cents per share.
Speedway

Still, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically exclude one-time items, expected a profit of 35 cents per share on $152.4 million in sales.

"From a core operations standpoint, considering the economic pressures on discretionary consumer and corporate spending, we are pleased with the results of the first six months of fiscal 2009, which are generally in line with our revised expectations," ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy said in a press release. "While the economic environment is challenging for us, our fans and business partners alike, we remain in a strong financial position to weather this protracted downturn."

One of those items came from ISC's long-troubled investment in Motorsports Authentics. ISC joined Speedway Motorsports ( TRK) in buying MA for $245 million in 2005. According to reports, the joint venture -- which sells licensed NASCAR merchandise -- has found itself in a tough retail market since, having to recently layoff employees.

ISC took a $57.3 million hit, or $1.17 per share charge, on MA in the quarter.

"While we are disappointed in the joint-venture's performance to date in 2009, we believe that streamlining the operations of MA by focusing on its core competencies will enable it to reduce operating costs and inventory risk, thereby resulting in a leaner and more profitable operation in the future," France Kennedy said in the release.

ISC also reiterated its 2009 guidance, saying revenue should land between $700 million to $720 million, while adding that annual non-GAAP earnings should come on the lower end between $1.80 to $2.00 per share.

Shares of ISC were up 1.1%, or 28 cents, at $25.57 following the news this afternoon.
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