With parking problems in rear view mirror Quaker State 400 has s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

With parking problems in rear view mirror Quaker State 400 has smooth future at Ky. Speedway

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Quaker State 400 NASCAR race has become a signature sporting event in Kentucky -- but massive traffic problems almost caused it to crash.

State officials are now saying the millions spent to fix the problems were worth it.

After a rough start, Kentucky Speedway is now rolling along with NASCAR. The question now is, what happens next? 

From the start, the Speedway has been a hit on the track -- but off the track, that first Sprint Car race in 2011 was a traffic, parking and public relations disaster.

"It was a dream come true to have it come here and then, you know, we had a lot of problems," said Mike Siemendinger, Kentucky Speedway General Manager.

"It was not one of our prouder moments," said Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock.

In a report to lawmakers meeting at the Speedway, Hancock outlined the dramatic measures taken to save the event: nearly $4 million to widen highways, improve interchanges and build a pedestrian tunnel. Additionally, the Speedway has purchased hundreds of acres for additional parking.

All of it was done in less than a year.

"That they were able to do what they did as quickly as they did -- it was really remarkable," said Siemendinger. "They did a great job, and you know, the result is we have what we have now, which is a real plum for our state."

Indeed, the Speedway is looking to stage more non-racing events. 

"This is an economic development driver for our region," Siemendinger said. "And so we do driving schools and product testing and those kinds of things. There's so much more that can be done."

Hancock says the state's investment is paying off.

"In ensuring the success of the Speedway's efforts into the future, what we did was a tremendous investment that we think will pay off big time in the years ahead," he said.

One thing that will not change is the track's famous bumpy surface. The Speedway says the drivers love it, and it has become a great marketing tool. 

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