Kentucky Speedway waited patiently for 11 years to earn the right to have a Sprint Cup Series race. Saturday evening marked the inaugural event at the track and fans showed up from all over the wayside. The race was a sellout with approximately 100,000 fans showing up and standing room only.
Like every inaugural event Kentucky had its fair share of problems, most notably traffic. Yahoo Sports is reporting that approximately 20,000 fans who had tickets for the Quaker State 400 weren’t allowed into the track because of parking problems. Both Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger and Speedway Motorsports Inc. president Marcus Smith acknowledged the traffic problem and said they will work feverishly to fix this problem for the 2012 race.
The damage may have been done, though, as many angry fans took to the speedway’s Facebook page Sunday afternoon.
One fan posted:
Left our house that was only 60 miles away and sat in traffic for over seven hours, then was unable to park anywhere near the race and had to walk miles to get there, by the time we [were] about a mile away from the actual track, the race was over…none of the shuttles were even helping people and the idiots on the bike trolly wanted $40 dollars per person to take us one mile…EPIC FAIL, My FIRST NASCAR race and I did not see ONE CAR!!! Not to mention I am out $200.00 plus gas and a whole day and night with NOTHING to show for it!!
I’ve been to 62 NASCAR races. I’ve been to every track east of the Mississippi. I was at [Kentucky] and made it there with no problems, but I was one of the fortunate ones. Out if all of the races I’ve been to, this was the worst run. Kentucky should be ashamed [of itself]. Bruton [Smith] wants to blame [I-71], but his facility was the problem. There was nowhere to park. People want to mention the first Texas race as having the same problem. I was at that inaugural race as well and they are totally different. It [was pouring] and [they] couldn’t use some of the parking and 200,000 people were going there. [Smith] needs to step up and take responsibility.
Kentucky Speedway announced that race fans who weren’t able to make it to their seats for the race Saturday evening can either exchange their ticket for any other SMI track this year, or for a ticket to the 2012 Kentucky race. Smith issued a statement saying he “apologized on behalf of Speedway Motorsports” for the debacle.
I applaud everyone at SMI and Kentucky Speedway for stepping up and apologizing to the fans for this setback. I am glad to see they handled the situation professionally and are making the situation right by allowing fans to exchange their tickets for tickets to upcoming races.