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Smith: No cash refunds for Kentucky race fans

July 15, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com

LOUDON, N.H. -- If you were caught in traffic trying to get to Kentucky Speedway last Saturday and missed the inaugural Sprint Cup race there, don't ask for a refund -- it's not happening.

Asked whether Speedway Motorsports Inc. considered refunding money to frustrated ticket holders, chairman Bruton Smith was succinct and abundantly clear.

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Mike Helton made it perfectly clear that the traffic debacle at Kentucky Speedway was being addressed and wouldn't "get lost in the shuffle."

"No, sir, we did not," Smith said Friday in a question-and-answer session with reporters at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We offered the exchange of tickets, yes. Are you talking about a cash refund? No, did not, and we will not."

Asked why not, Smith was equally terse, "We don't want to."

Through a ticket exchange offer, fans who didn't make it to the race track can exchange their unused Kentucky tickets for a ticket to another Cup event at an SMI track this year or to next year's race at Kentucky -- assuming there is one.

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Smith says he will meet with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and his support people next Friday. Asked whether he would consider pulling the Cup date from Kentucky if the meeting didn't go his way, Smith quipped, "Las Vegas, baby!

"I would not answer that at this time. I'll wait until after my wonderful meeting with the governor, and we'll go from there."

The construction of a new interchange on Interstate 71 doubtless will be on the table during that discussion. In Smith's view, inadequacies of that highway were a main contributor to the traffic problem.

"Engineers have already engineered this [the new exit], and I'm sure I'll be presenting that to the governor and his people, but that has already been engineered," Smith said. "I'm sincerely sorry that everybody did not get in there. I'm sorry we had such traffic, although I had continuously warned people about that Interstate 71.

"I told everybody that would listen that that Interstate 71 sucked. It's terrible. It's the lousiest piece of interstate that I have ever driven on, and I was hoping that would get some attention. It maybe got a little, but it sure didn't get a lot. That's what we were dealing with, and I think that, when we go back there, you'll find that maybe someone will have done something about it."