Kentucky’s first Cup date comes with headaches

By Shaun Burke

After talking to a few fans it became apparent many are not impressed with the inaugural Quaker State 400. The most significant complaint about the race weekend was the traffic.
It became apparent during last night’s Nationwide race that Kentucky Speedway had a traffic problem. As the green flag for the Feed The Children 300 flew, thousands of fans were sitting in their cars on Interstate 71 listening on the radio. While the track has hosted Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series for ten years, this is the track’s first weekend hosting a Sprint Cup race.
In preparation for the event, Kentucky Speedway added several thousand seats. The unfortunate thing they did not build additional parking spots. The lack of parking caused a massive traffic jam which spread for miles on all incoming roads. Additionally, when you get to a parking lot, there are barricades up all around the lots meaning there is only one way in and one way out of each lot.
Personally, it took myself four hours to arrive at Kentucky Speedway. I left my hotel in Cincinnati at 10:30 EST for my trek to the Speedway. As traffic began backing up about eight miles from the track, I exited and took an alternative route which took me along some beautiful country roads. All appeared great until I got about 2 miles away from the track. Traffic began backing up and the waiting game began. I proceeded to move less than a mile in an hour and a half. It was at this time, I saw a guy selling parking spots in his front yard. I decided to park the car and take to foot.
As I was walking to media center, I began reading tweets from some of the cup drivers. Denny Hamlin, Landon Cassill and Andy Lally all tweeted about traffic woes. I also encountered something I never imagined I would see: Bruton Smith was at an intersection talking on the radio attempting to get another lane of traffic open.
Traffic wasn’t the only complaint on fans minds. I spoke with a fan at the tweet-up that told me there was a line with 20-30 people waiting for a porta potty. She said instead of toilet banks, they had just two or three toilets together and that they were overflowing.
In the end, Kentucky Speedway will learn and fix this problem. It’s important to remember this is Kentucky’s first Cup date and that SMI has owned the track for just over a year. I have faith Bruton Smith and all the folks at Kentucky Speedway will fix the problem and next season will go much smoother.