Two weeks ago was the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. It was supposed to be a glorious night that would showcase how great the race fans in Kentucky are, and how great a facility Kentucky Speedway is. Instead, the race was lackluster. The only lead changes in that race were on pit road. Clean air meant more than having a fast car. But what overshadowed the race itself was the traffic in and out of the race track.
Many race fans had been stuck in traffic for almost six hours. I-71 was backed up for 17 miles. Fans were still trying to enter the race track as late as 100 laps into the race. Eventually, security started to turn away fans because the parking lots were full. Fans who actually had tickets and had been sitting in traffic for hours were not allowed to enter the track and watch the race that they paid for because the parking lots were full.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith continues to blame the state of Kentucky and the interstate system rather than himself and his company for what happened two weeks ago.
" "I'm sorry we had such traffic, although I warned everyone that Interstate 71 sucked," Smith said. "It's terrible.
"If the interstate was 10 lanes wide, everybody would have gotten in there and been happy. The place emptied in three hours and twenty minutes. We've had speedways that did worse than that."
But the problem isn't so much the traffic. It was the parking. And that is something that will definitely be fixed.
I have heard fans say that they will never go back to Kentucky Speedway even if the track gave them tickets for free. That is something that Kentucky Speedway and SMI do not want to hear, and they won't take that lightly. SMI and Kentucky Speedway will do all they can to fix the problems that plagued the inaugural race. They don't want to hear that people will never go back to that race track.
if you look at Kentuck Speedway from the satellite shot on Google Maps, you will see that there is plenty of property that can be cleared out for more parking. Kentucky Speedway has already said that they will have more parking for next year's race. But to take the track to the next level, they should follow what SMI did with New Hampshire Motor Speedway as a blue print.
I finally had the priviledge of attending a race at New Hampshire this past weekend for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. If you ever have the chance to attend a race there you should definitely take it. It is a wonderful facility. There is plenty of parking there, probably more than is actually needed, the traffic flow is very well organized, and the people who work at the track are incredibly friendly.
There are two entrances to NHMS off of RT-106: the Main entrance which is basically right behind turn 1, and the South Entrance which is about a half mile south of turns 1 and 2. At the South entrance, there is a three-lane road that wraps around almost the entire track property and accesses almost every parking and RV lot. Every lot for parking is huge and has plenty of room. The parking lots fill in and empty out very quickly.
RT-106 is a single lane, north/south road that NHMS sits on. For the race, the road is turned into a three lane road headed towards the track by utilizing the shoulders. Traffic flows incredibly well both before and after the race.
This past Sunday NHMS had over 95,000 people attend the race. Nobody said anything about traffic being an issue before or after the race. All that was said were compliments towards NHMS and its staff.
If SMI models its fix of Kentucky Speedway after New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kentucky will be hailed as a great facility in a short matter of time.
SMI and Kentucky Speedway will fix their issues. You can guarantee it.