By Jerry Bonkowski
It took 11 years for Kentucky Speedway to get a Sprint Cup race.
It took one Saturday – one very long Saturday at that – to destroy the excitement and anticipation for thousands.
Let's start with a 22-mile long backup on Interstate 71, essentially making what is normally a 45-minute trip at best with no traffic from Cincinnati to Sparta, Ky., into a seven-to-eight hour case of paralyzing gridlock.
Then tack on parking, which was just as much of a nightmare. There were more cars than anticipated and RVs all trying to funnel into any available space around the track, but not enough space to put them all in. Some people parked as far as nine miles away and walked back and forth to the racetrack. Heck, they made better progress than folks who were stuck in their cars on the interstate.
NASCAR was embarrassed. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which purchased Kentucky Speedway nearly two years ago, was embarrassed. The governor of Kentucky, speaking on behalf of all citizens of the commonwealth, was embarrassed.
The shortcomings and failures were nothing short of cataclysmic, destroying much of the goodwill that had been built up in anticipation of the track moving from the minor leagues of previously hosting Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series races, on up to the major leagues of NASCAR and its Sprint Cup Series.
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