News & Media


Kentucky improvements expected by Truck race

August 03, 2011, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com

Officials at Speedway Motorsports Inc. expect improvements to be made in traffic flow and parking at Kentucky Speedway in time for the facility's next NASCAR national-series event, a Truck Series race scheduled for October 1.

SMI executives updated the Kentucky situation Wednesday as part of the company's second-quarter earnings report for 2011. The track's inaugural Sprint Cup race in July drew a sellout crowd of 107,000, but was plagued by a shortage of parking spaces and a traffic jam that at one point stretched for 20 miles on Interstate 71, the main artery to the speedway.

"This is not SMI's way. We build the finest, most fan-pleasing facilities and infrastructure possible for our fans and our sport."

--MARCUS SMITH

"We have plans right now," SMI president Marcus Smith said. "We should have it in the kind of shape it needs to be in prior to the Sprint Cup race next year. We'll have improvements made prior to the fall IndyCar/Truck race [weekend] we have coming up in October. So we're in action right now to make the appropriate improvements there that will have us in the kind of position that we're typically known for."

SMI's capital expenditures for the year, estimated to top out at around $50 million, may rise to about $60 million, the company said, though it was unclear how much of that money will be used in Kentucky. Company chairman Bruton Smith said on-site roads and parking lots are among the areas being upgraded.

"What was intended to be an incredibly successful, sold-out inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race in July at our newly modernized Kentucky Speedway was marred by extreme traffic and other congestion for which we remain apologetic," Smith said. "This is not SMI's way. We build the finest, most fan-pleasing facilities and infrastructure possible for our fans and our sport. Our history is conducting exceptionally fan-appealing, entertaining and successful events. We are already progressing on improving and expanding on-site road systems, available parking, restroom, and other facilities at the speedway, as well as working with the State of Kentucky to help improve surrounding roadways.

"Notwithstanding these fixable issues, the interest and excitement surrounding this inaugural race event far exceeded our expectations. We remain more confident than ever that Kentucky's premium market represents a tremendous long-term growth opportunity for SMI, as well as broadcasters and advertisers, and will undoubtedly join SMI's successful history of investing in first-class facilities."