Tuesday, August 30, 2011

KY Speedway, State Announce Traffic Improvements

Officials at Kentucky Speedway announced a number of projects today, designed to avoid a repeated of the traffic and parking issues that left thousands of fans stranded in traffic July 9, forcing many to miss the track’s inaugural Sprint Cup Series race entirely. Speedway Motorsports, Inc., CEO Bruton Smith sparred with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear in the days following the debacle, with Smith blaming inadequate state highways for the tie-ups and Beshear faulting inadequate parking at the speedway

Today, the track announced a multi-phased program aimed at improving traffic flow and parking for its 2012 Sprint Cup Series race. The project is headlined by the purchase of a 143-acre parcel of land that will expand parking capacity by approximately 35 percent. The track has also hired a new, more experienced company to manage traffic and parking; the same group enlisted by Daytona International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

The state of Kentucky has earmarked $3.6 million from its contingency fund to improve Interstate 71 and the southbound Exit 57 off-ramp; changes that will allow three lanes of traffic to exit KY Highway 35 and directly access speedway entrances on race days. Approximately one mile of KY 35 and .6-mile of KY 35 will be widened to five lanes with full-width shoulders, effectively providing seven lanes of two-way traffic to speed access and egress on race days. A tunnel will also be constructed beneath KY 35 to accommodate pedestrian traffic. Work on all projects is expected to be completed before next summer’s race.

“We learned meaningful lessons during our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend,” said Speedway GM Mark Simendinger, “and we committed that the traffic congestion that occurred on race day would not happen again. It was important for us to act quickly and I am thrilled to report this solution, which was formed in only seven short weeks.”

NASCAR President Mike Helton expressed happiness with the announcement, saying, “We’ve been in close touch with the track and its management since July, and the significant commitments announced today support the common goal of hosting the most successful events possible at Kentucky Speedway next season. We believe improvements like these are necessary in order to ensure that our fans have the opportunity for an enjoyable race experience. We appreciate these efforts and will continue to monitor the progress that is being made.”


  1. Anonymous12:16 PM

    $3.6 million successfully extorted from the people of Kentucky. Ask the people who live in the poverty stricken Eastern Kentucky area where that money could be used. Ask a public school teacher where that money could go. Ask a student trying to page for college where that $3.6 MILLION dollars could be used. Shame on the governor for caving-in and shame on Bruton Smith for extortion and strong-arming the people of Kentucky.

  2. Anonymous2:41 PM

    Opps...."trying to pay for college"...Sorry

  3. Kentucky never should have bent to the speedway's request so easily. Let the speedway do their part and get parking right and let's see if the state still needed to do something. Unless i missed something this highway project isn't much different than the bear in the woods other than one weekend a year. I guess the only good part is it will create a few jobs for a few months while they do the work.