SBD/May 16, 2012/Facilities

Kentucky Speedway GM: Improvements Will Ease Traffic, Parking Issues

After a number of improvements to resolve traffic and parking issues during last year's inaugural Cup race at Kentucky Speedway, track GM Mark Simendinger “might be looking forward to the June 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 more than anyone else in the state," according to Eric Crawford of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Simendinger said, "We’ve spent a lot of money and time and preparation. We’ve done all this computer simulation modeling, so I know it works, but all you can do is open up the doors and let everyone see for themselves.” Due to the issues in '11, "a traffic and parking nightmare quickly came to be synonymous with the venue." Crawford writes track officials “know that until they get the race crowd in and out, the shadow still will be there.” NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth said, “These days, with Twitter and the Internet, it’s pretty easy to hear all that (traffic) stuff real fast” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/16). Simendinger said that there is “no excuse for last year's traffic blunders." He said, “I want to say one more time how sorry I am that that whole thing occurred. ... We just weren't as ready as we thought we were." The AP’s Colin Fly wrote Simendinger has since "shouldered the blame at every step along the way.” Simendinger: "When something like that happens, you do one of two things -- you either back up or you stack up. We stacked it all up and we have really worked hard to make sure that wasn't going to happen again. We are ready to go.” The improvements included a $4 million highway contract from the state that "widened an exit ramp coming off southbound Interstate 71 and a stretch of Kentucky 35 [that] runs past the track.” Also, a “new pedestrian tunnel has been built.” Simendinger said, "Fans are going to be very, very impressed” (AP, 5/15).
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