2011 saw the first Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway with Kyle Busch taking home the trophy at the end of the weekend. It also saw one of the biggest traffic nightmares since Woodstock, which left thousands of race fans holding tickets that they didn’t get to use for that event. Bruton Smith and Mark Simendinger, the General Manager of Kentucky Speedway, met with the media Wednesday morning during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway to outline how the problems from that weekend are being corrected.
The track is spending $80 million to acquire land, upgrade parking areas and construct tunnels and bridges to make fan parking and movement far greater than last year. The speedway has purchased two tracts of land across Kentucky Highway 35 from the facility that amount to 173 usable acres of additional parking. They have also done some grading of property already owned by the track that was previously inhospitable to parking that can now accommodate fans’ vehicles. The end result of the expansion of parking is going to be space to house the vehicles of up to 56,000 additional fans over the space last year.
The track is also installing a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 35 to allow fans to migrate to the speedway without having to cross the highway, which is the major artery for traffic flow into the venue. The highway is also being expanded by the state of Kentucky to a robust seven lanes which should help reduce the congestion that was a major problem last year getting off Interstate 71. In addition to the Highway 35 expansion, the state has also added to Interstate 71, which now has four lanes for traffic flow and exit 57 off of the interstate, which now will have three lanes to better remove the traffic from the expressway.
The concourse of the racetrack is going to have four additional restrooms from last season which are already well underway and should be completed in the very hear future. SMI is also adding a new bridge over the infield tunnel road for improved tram flow so that fans can be shuttled around the property more efficiently. Additional trams have also been purchased which will add more capacity to the fan flow capabilities of the track.
Smith bemoaned the fact that the track couldn’t redo their inaugural Cup race weekend. “We ought to be able to redo our inaugural weekend. We should have a second inaugural race in June. We’re gonna do it right this time.” All of the projects have a estimated completion date of May 4, which is well in advance of the June 28-30 race weekend.
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