Track officials hope not to repeat last year's mess by adding more parking

SPARTA, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Speedway is hoping for a second chance. After last years fiasco at it's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Race, millions of dollars have been spent on improvements to make a better impression this year.

Last year when race fans tried to make their way up to Sprint Cup Race, traffic was backed up for miles on Interstate 71. The roads around the track were clogged with vehicles that had no place to park. As many as 14,000 fans didn't get to see the race.

It was a lesson learned the hard way for track officials.

"We have done nothing but deducted ourselves to working to make sure that fans are gonna get out of here as well as they possibly can," said Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger.

Because of all the problems, the list of improvements was long, expensive, and complicated. The deadline to have it all done by, of course short.

But after a year, the changes are noticeable.

"I think they are gonna say wow, where was this last year," said Simendinger.

WAVE 3 got a tour of some of the changes. Farmland next to Kentucky 35 is now a giant parking lot.

"It's 170 acres, if you do the math it's probably in the vicinity of 12,000 cars," said Director of Communications for the Kentucky Speedway Tim Bray.

A pedestrian tunnel was also constructed to connect the parking lot to the speedway grounds.

"The pedestrian tunnel was 42 feet wide and we are gonna run trams through it and have pedestrians walk through it," said Bray.

The state also widened the I-71 exit ramp at Kentucky 35 and widened Kentucky 35 to seven lanes for the entire stretch which serves the speedway.

Southwest of the track, another major parking lot, another section will be for campers.

Since thousands are expected, advice from state police.

"There is still gonna be a lot of traffic with the race starting at 8:00," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Brad Arterburn. "Come on out earlier you can ensure yourself to get in here and enjoy your day."

The state and speedway Motorsport Inc., spent a total of about $10 million on the improvements.

This years Quaker State 400 will be on June 30.

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