The inaugural NASCAR Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway was a huge disappointment to race fans for a number of reasons. Ann Arbor Motorcycle Travel Examiner knows the disappointment first hand as we traveled from Ann Arbor to Sparta, Kentucky, to be a part of NASCAR history.
Kentucky Speedway was not equipped to handle the influx of fans attending the race. 30,000 seats were added to sell more tickets for this NASCAR event, but Kentucky Speedway failed to add the 15,000 to 30,000 additional parking spaces necessary to accommodate the increase. The consequence of not having enough parking spaces caused a 25 mile traffic jam on I-71. Traffic was at a standstill for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. It took 5 hours to go 22 miles. NASCAR fans expect some traffic delays, but not a 5 hour traffic backup.
In many cases fans could not see the race because they could not find parking, or it took so long to reach Kentucky Speedway the race was over. Less than halfway through the race State Police did not let anyone in at all. State Police were telling everyone to turn around and go home. With ticket prices at $100.00 plus, Kentucky Speedway should offer race fans their money back. Thousands of fans were turned away.
Another reason for disappointment was the “quality” of the race. ESPN referred to the race as “a gentleman’s race”. Fans who were able to see the race said it was boring and that “the drivers were just driving laps.” Several drivers complained that “the track was bumpy, unsafe ”, and they drove the race accordingly.
Fans also commented that they ran out of everything, and they could not even buy a bottle of water. When asked if they would return next year, a couple from Georgia said “they would not return for a few years or until Kentucky Speedway figured it out.
In summation this first NASCAR event at Kentucky Speedway was a disaster. For what it’s worth, Number 18, Kyle Busch, was the race winner.
Remember, it’s all about the ride. Ride Safe!