Sprint Cup race fans react to traffic nightmare

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- Before the Quaker State 400 finished at the Kentucky Speedway Saturday night, our phones rang off the hook.

Many of you also sent emails, tips and Facebook messages...all upset with the traffic nightmare.

Some viewers told WAVE 3 they sat in traffic for as long as six hours Saturday night, waiting to get to the track.

Many told us they had never seen anything like it and said they want changes.

Mary Ann Lewis, of Louisville, loves her NASCAR.

"I'm the biggest NASCAR fan--world's [biggest] NASCAR fan in Jefferson County for Dale Earnhardt, Jr," she said.

As a birthday gift her brother Stephen bought Mary Ann, who's disabled, and their family $400 in tickets to see Saturday night's race and Mary Ann's favorite driver.

"I was hoping to meet him in person and talk to him, you know? And get his autograph and get a picture," she said.

Mary Ann and her family say they sat in traffic for hours. Once they finally reached a gate, Stephen claims they were turned away for parking.

"They were not giving us handicapped access because, their excuse was they were filled to capacity and they were doing emergency routes only," he said.

Mary Ann didn't get to see the race.

"It was my biggest dream of all time. It was shattered. It was just totally shattered. My heart was crushed," she said. "I'm just really highly hurt and disappointed."

Lewis isn't alone. Vickie Schoenbaescler, of Louisville, says she and her husband spent hours in traffic Saturday night.

"I knew, with this being the first race, that there was going to be a lot of snags, that there'd be a lot of bugs they'd have to work out and get ready for next year," she said. "I just think the way they did it was absolutely ridiculous."

Schoenbaescler said she and her husband ended up turning around and returning home. They did not see the race.

"We've gone to races all down in the South: Bristol, Talladega, Atlanta, everywhere. We've never been in traffic like that," she said. "I hope everybody can get a refund and then I hope they work that bug out, as far as the traffic."

Schoenbaescler says she and her husband did not lose money from their tickets, because they were insured.

Sunday evening, the Kentucky Speedway's General Manager, Mark Simendinger, released a statement saying the following:

"Kentucky Speedway regrets the traffic conditions surrounding the 'Quaker State 400.' We're committed to working with NASCAR, state and local officials and traffic experts to assure that this never happens again. The details of these improvements will be announced over time as they are formulated.

"We also recognize the traffic problems resulted in some fans not being able to attend the 'Quaker State 400.' We are gathering information on this and will announce a policy for these affected fans within seven days.

"Our 'Quaker State 400' ticket holders are invited to share their experiences with us through fans@kentuckyspeedway.com. We thank all our fans for giving the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series such a great welcome to our venue."

Speedway management did not comment on the claims of a lack of handicapped parking.

Meanwhile, Christopher Cox, of Corydon, IN, wants changes. He says he lost more than $160 bucks in tickets due to traffic.

"They need to contact other tracks that have this type of venue and say, 'What did we do wrong?" he asked.

However, Mary Ann says none of this changes how she feels about NASCAR or her favorite driver "I'll never turn my heart away from Dale Jr. No."

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