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SPARTA, Ky. (WDRB) -- In just over a month, the Kentucky Speedway gets a second shot at hosting more than a hundred thousand race fans. After last year's traffic hassle, work to improve traffic is almost complete. It's up to workers to get everything finished so that more than 100,000 race fans can easily get to the track this year.
It was a chance for the track to shine last summer, as the Kentucky Speedway hosted the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Instead it stuck out like a sore thumb--a really sore thumb. Traffic was a nightmare. "We did a tremendous amount of planning, unfortunately many of those plans weren't very good," said Mark Simindinerg, General Manager for the Kentucky Speedway.
It took some fans more than four hours to get to the track, arriving hours after the race started.
Some missed the race altogether. Parking was even a disaster. "Right after we had all of our traffic problems last year I got a call from Governor Beshear and Bruton Smith and they said, 'What do we need to do to make sure this never happens again?' And I said, 'We need more,'" said Simindinger. What he meant, was more of everything. Now, a two-lane highway by the track has been expanded to five, but two shoulders actually convert it to seven lanes on race days. The track bought 170 acres across the street -- paved for parking. Grass lots are now gravel, and there is more space for campers. A pedestrian tunnel will safely get fans to the track, without stopping traffic.
The improvements have cost the track and state more than $10 million. Not only will the expansions help traffic flow, operations will be different. A new parking company will be used, and fans will notice a stronger police presence.