There are many mixed emotions on the debut of the inaugural Quaker State 400 from Kentucky, but there is one consistent emotion that seems to be hounding all of those that were involved in promoting this weekend’s event.
My grades for this weekend’s Quaker State 400 from Kentucky: Do they deserve another chance or should just “drop out”? You make the call-
Traffic- I had been monitoring twitter for more than half of the day and I continued to get consistent reports on the facts about the traffic issue. Several were only traveling 19 miles, but took nearly five and a half hours to arrive. As anyone would expect “some” traffic, this was completely ridiculous. Fans were still arriving during the race, only to be turned away by track officials because there was absolutely no more room. In this case, you could count on there being plenty of unhappy fans, solely because most waited in traffic for more than six hours all for nothing!
Race- The race was “eh” at best. Think some of the more “exciting” parts of the race came at the restarts when everyone was bunched up together, too bad there weren’t many of these situations. When the leader (aka Kyle Busch) was out front leading, he would quickly build up a lead of about six seconds with just under a few laps under his belt. There was one instance where only 10 cars were on the lead lap at the very end of the race. As one of my twitter followers said, “this was a complete, and utter snoozefest”.
Venue- Kentucky Speedway is a breathtaking, beautiful track (from what I could see on television). When I heard Bruton Smith had spent nearly 100 million dollars renovating the track, I knew we were in for something special. I really believe SMI feels that Kentucky could be the most popular track out of the ones that they operate. Having said that, the beautiful track alone will not win fans back to come to future races, it has to be a complete package.
Logistics- I heard this simple word “logistics” thrown out a bunch of this past race weekend. With not only traffic disturbing fans, the lack of public restrooms also agitated some of NASCAR’s finest. Again, receiving my information from twitter, I learned that some public restrooms has a line of several hundred, just trying to get in. This just establishes my point, Kentucky Speedway knew they had sold out of tickets for this event, so why didn’t they take the proper precautions to make sure every fan left with a “pleasurable experience”?
Overall- I was not impressed with Sprint Cup’s debut at Kentucky Speedway, but know that with any first time event, there will be some flaws. My biggest concern was turning fans away once they had waited in traffic for as long as they did. When you have race fans still showing up for a race with just under 50 laps to go, there is a problem. I never thought I would see the day when “traffic” would be the deciding factor on if NASCAR fans would come back to Kentucky next year or not.
Extra- Just remember, Kentucky sued to get this cup date and said that they were ready for it, obviously that was not the case. ESPN conducted a poll late Sunday asking fans if they would come back to Kentucky next year, 67% said they would not return.
It will just be interesting to see what changes that area makes for future races, they have to do something to get this “sour” taste of NASCAR fans mouth!