Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kentucky Speedway turns to NASCAR TV

By the time Monday rolled around, it was very clear that the Kentucky Speedway traffic story had gone viral. Even the mainstream media had clamped onto the story that thousands of Americans had been trapped in traffic for many hours and were angry at everyone from the Kentucky State Police to the speedway owner.

The subsequent response from the facility and its parent company, Speedway Motorsports Inc., fell flat. Hazy statements expressing regret and passing blame were exactly what SMI did not need. This situation was heightened when NASCAR Chairman France put out a strongly worded statement saying bluntly that this cannot happen again.

Both ESPN's NASCAR Now and SPEED's NASCAR RaceDay had pre-race shows on Saturday. The ESPN show was long gone by the time SPEED came on at 4:30PM ET with RaceDay. By then, the traffic problems were all the talk of Twitter, Facebook and the wonderful world of social media.

Produced by the NASCAR Media Group for SPEED, RaceDay shook off any temptation to chase the traffic story and instead followed the company line of simply promoting the inaugural race.

The boasts of panelist Darrell Waltrip, whose own Kentucky roots were profiled in a TV special earlier that day, now seem incredibly ironic. As Waltrip and RaceDay partner Kenny Wallace carried on, thousands of NASCAR fans were hopelessly trapped in a logistical nightmare that defied explanation.

TNT followed the RaceDay lead and never actually reported on the developing story. Despite being on the air for more than four hours, TNT chose to focus on what was going on inside the track rather than outside. Tweets from TNT on-air personalities did made it clear, however, that they were aware of the disaster that was unfolding.

It is often left to the two Monday NASCAR TV shows to sort-out the details of the weekend. Monday's NASCAR Now was up first as host Allen Bestwick presented an hour of highlights and conversation. Despite several mentions during the show, it was 48 minutes into the program before the traffic story surfaced.

Bestwick spoke by phone with Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger after showing some soundbites of angry fans and recapping the statement from Brian France.

"All I can tell you is that our traffic plans failed miserably," said Simendinger. "Hearing the stories that you just played makes me sick. I don't know what to say other than the fact that we totally blew it. I really feel badly for what we put our fans through."

Simendinger updated the offer from SMI for Kentucky Speedway fans affected on Saturday to redeem their Sprint Cup Series tickets for another race at the speedway or any of the SMI-owned tracks.

"Today for us is about connecting with those fans that we injured," Simendinger continued. "There is no excuse for it and we are totally to blame."

The advantage RaceHub has over NASCAR Now is that the SPEED studios are literally a short drive down the road from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was SMI President Marcus Smith, son of Chairman Bruton Smith, who stopped by to speak with show host Steve Byrnes.

"It's really tough to say what happened or what could have been different," said Smith. "In hindsight, we can see where we need to make adjustments. We have been hard at work on this since Saturday and we are going to make a big difference next year."

Smith then echoed the earlier comments of Simendinger about the SMI ticker redemption policy. Smith's comments were more specifically directed to the fans who never got into the race track as that was the topic being discussed.

"We really pride ourselves on being the best in racing with fan amenities and customer service," said Smith. "So, for something like this to happen is very unusual. We are sad that it happened and really want to try and make it right."

It would have been nice if Smith looked right into the camera and apologized, but the fact that he appeared with Byrnes was a positive move. It clearly was not as personal to Smith as it was to Simendinger, but the appearance and the refund information was made clear.

The item left on the table by both TV shows is what becomes of the fans who never made the race and cannot or do not want to attend another event. The word "refund" has never been mentioned and seems that it will not. It should be interesting to see how that topic sorts itself out over the next couple of weeks.

The rumor going around ESPN is that in September NASCAR Now on weekdays will be moved from 5PM Eastern back to 3PM in order to make room for ESPN's homegrown hit Sports Nation.

Often, as with this Monday's show, the big one-hour 5PM "roundtable" does not re-air. NASCAR fans have one shot to see it at the scheduled time or record it for viewing when they get home. This shift to an even earlier time in the heart of the NASCAR season is not a good thing for anyone except ESPN.

It seems the SMI group turned to TV on Monday as an integral part of cleaning up the public relations mess of the weekend. Once again, it's nice to have two NASCAR TV partners producing programs that can get the job done.

We welcome your comments on these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.


Gymmie said...

I had those thoughts as well JD. For many fans this may have been their only vacation or as many jobs are you have to lay out your vacation in January & depending on company policy (usually seniority related) it's hard to change plans. So if they have any remaining days may be used for family events,Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or New Years.

Many fans spent thousands with airfare, car rentals, hotels, food & gas. Many do not live within driving distance of an SMI track. And with the bad taste in their mouths, many will not be returning so the "free" ticket for next year is no use to them.

Also I saw reports of folks spending $200 for their Cup ticket, how comparable would the other tickets be if they did the trade? Some tracks may not have a ticket over $100. Also they'll have to shell out for hotel, car rental, air fare, gas, food & tickets to the other events again.

I wasn't able to go to the Thursday shing ding, went to meet Elliott Sadler, Mr. Roush & Da Biff instead. But it included that, Friday quals, Saturday practice/West Race, Sunday race & the Rolex race.

A shame Mr. Smith didn't know the "S" word. Yes it was nice of him to stop by but a "we're sorry" would have also been nice.

Many fans are looking at how they handle this to see if they'll attend a race at Kentucky either again or ever. Some have vowed not to go to any SMI track again period.

Anonymous said...

It was a poor performance by Marcus Smith last night on Race Hub. He really danced around the traffic fiasco. Nascar and his own Corporation have experience with traffic issues. Kentucky has had a history of traffic issues with far less spectators than Saturday night. Was it a half-azzed plan?(Read that cheap). I suspect we'll never know the truth. I'm sure Bruton will blame everyone but himself. Sorry for sounding so cynical so early in the morning. I don't know what's gotten into Larry McReynolds lately. Last night on Race Hub he was asked if Kyle Busch had matured enough to be Champion this year. Larry said "Question Mark" and went on to cite what happened in the 2008 Chase after Kyle won eight races in the regular season. Excuse me? At Loudon, a bolt fell off the front sway bar and the motor blew in the next Chase race. Was that Kyle's fault? These Nascar hosts need to listen to themselves some time.

MRM4 said...

I'm glad they offered something in return to the fans. Wonder how many ticket stubs, used or unused, will now end up on ebay for someone to swap it for another ticket? I know some people will be mad no refunds will be given. But it's my experience no race track offers any kind of refund for a completed event. I'm sure this discussion is not going to end.

Sally said...

While offeringa free ticket to any other SMI track is a nice gesture, it does not take into account all the other expenses that come with attending a race. Usually, after gas and hotel, the ticket is the least expensive part of the package, to say nothing of the time and aggrivation. I find it hard to believe that SMI, with all it's previous experience with race traffic, couldn't have anticipated these problems. It looks to me like a way fro Bruton to strong-arm the state of Kentucky into paying for lots of improvements to put money in Bruton's pocket.

Nature Boy NC said...

I don't see how anything but a full refund will do. After the experience these fans had, I seriously doubt they want to travel to another race this year. Bruton Smith should just say that for people who purchased tickets but wasn't able to get in, you'll get a full refund. He's going to get sued.

Vicky D said...

How can Nascar say this should never happen again when it has already happened at TMS in 1997 when fans were stuck in traffic for hours and hours. We haven't been to a cup race there since 2000 but the trucks & NW races have great parking and plenty of roads to get in and out of the track. As long as you don't take I35 fans are ok! I'm glad I wasn't one of these poor folks but I still feel that management should have known what was going to happen they knew they didn't have enough parking and blames it on the poor parking attendants for not parking the vehicles close enough to each other.

glenc1 said...

The odd thing to me was Marcus saying that no track had ever offered free tickets, as if that was something super special that they should all be grateful for. I can't tell if he was sincere, but it certainly could have been more convincing. I was more impressed with Larry mac on Racehub--what, did someone suddenly give these guys reality pills? Of course, they're criticizing a track, not NASCAR directly. I couldn't remember if Indy had done anything for the people at the 2008 Brickyard, but I looked back & Michelin did give refunds for the US Grand Prix fiasco (yes, actual refund checks). But it was not IMS. But other tracks never *needed* to do such a thing. Blaming the backup on the road is ridiculous. Lots of tracks only have two line roads (turned into 3, usually). It was the 'getting in to the track' part where it all fell apart, from what I've read from the complaints. Not enough people to direct traffic and inexperienced people parking cars. I understand post race traffic, everyone leaves at the same time. But there is no good reason why people entering over hours and hours should have created an issue. What if it had been a 1pm Sunday race?

About TNT--I'm sure that I remember a conversation between Lindsay and one of them about the traffic being backed up. So while it wasn't 'reporting', it was at least brought up by her.

Greg said...

I was one of those stuck in traffic, and I feel compelled to point out that the problem was clearly SMI's problem. They had no traffic plan PERIOD. When we finally got in and made the 1 mile trek to the track, there was countless spaces going unused. 2 KY state troopers funneled cars into an area and left them to sort it out. We came from Louisville and exit 55 filtered down to 1 lane for 20,000 cars. Then KY 1039 was 1 lane until it merged with westbound traffic. 3 lanes sat empty and unused, while workers and KY troopers sat on the hoods of their cars. The problem wasn't infrastructure as much as it was basic understanding of traffic control and lack of imagination. Every other track I have been to has reversed lanes for entry and used the space efficiently. SMI's plan seemed to be just use existing roads and hope for the best.

Upon returning on Sunday morning and flipping on the DVR it was infuriating to watch Bruton Smith's laughing face on TV as he threw the governor and the state of Kentucky under the bus. If I were Gov. Beshears, I would shut the track down until SMI funds new infrastructure and develop a real traffic plan. Admittedly, I would do this more as payback for the arrogance displayed by Mr. Smith and his son Marcus in the press.

What shocks me is that this is nothing new to SMI. They have a deep understanding of traffic control and how to run a racetrack as seen by Bristol, Texas, Atlanta and Charlotte. To be so unprepared is simply incredible. SMI's board of directors and NASCAR need to take the Smith boys out behind the woodshed not only for their performance over the weekend, but also how they presented themselves to the media.

clay said...

a. IF BRUTON had furnished enough parking, then the existing ramps, etc would have worked. Don't blame the State.
B. Who's to blame for the shortage of toilets, the running out of food, unmanned traffic intersections,etc. BRUTON.
c. Who is responsible for the no coolers rule?
d. Who to blame for the crappy racing? 1 pass under green for the lead, single file "racing" all night? The Drivers? Could be, seems most all of taop ten are in points racing mode already.

KoHoSo said...

The thing I am going to be most interested in seeing is how this affects next year's ticket sales (not to mention the upcoming IndyCar race for which sales will be abysmal anyway). The media coverage now is fine but I doubt it will last as they will move on to other things anywhere outside of the area. Anybody that has seen the online reaction on places like Twitter and Kentucky Speedway's Facebook page knows that it has been strong (to say the least). Will fans have a longer memory than the media? Will new fans take the place of the ones that say they will never go back? Will people remember that traffic was not the only problem?

Many questions...a whole year to wait for the answers.

Sophia said...

I watched Race Hub interview. WHY no refund? I missed that part or wrongly assumed (!My bad:) you could get a refund OR attend other SMI races.

That's an outrage as others have said, many cant afford to TRAVEL to NH or Atlanta or the others. I can NOT believe there is no cash refund for $100s worth of tickets. With gasoline so pricy, who can afford a drive up the east coast, $$$ hotel rooms & such after hard earned WASTED $$ on the Sparta trip?

(If you paid w a credit card CALL your cc and argue against the payment. CC give you leverage to do this!)

I've yet to see anybody ANYWHERE on any station, radio, tv or PRINT mention the bottom line.

NOT enough parking places! Hello. If Bruton Smith said on Trackside to ride 6,8 or 10 to an event, that PROVED BS knew before hand there were no added parking spaces!

Also on TV Sunday night, SOAS (Sports of All Sorts) devoted an HOUR to the Sparta talk, with 4 hand picked fans, 3 of which went to SPARTA & had a great time, the 4th had attended 10 previous Sparta races. All blamed the 'newbie fans' for not leaving early enough. *Sigh*

Local radio the next morning (which made me so mad, I could not listen) did the same thing calling the fans cry babies for leaving too late saying "This isn't a Reds game or Bengals game" where you leave 2 hrs before the game.

Paul Daugherty, Cincy writer in the Enquirer, also took the whining fans to task. Wow.

The bottom line, if everybody would've gotten there at 9 or 10AM the traffic would've happened THEN due to not enough parking spaces!!!

Also on SOAS, they said you did not need a ticket to park. MANY were 'partying & tailgating' in the lots taking up lots of VALUABLE space.

That's not been addressed publicly either. SOAS group did say "Parking could've been better organized as some people took up 4 spaces with grills & chairs!" That's also an SMI problem in many's book. Not Ky DOT!!

Another thing, lack of bathrooms was HUGE issue in the lot outside the gates. Nobody addressed that either :(

It's like somebody has gotten to the Cincy media and told them to blame Ky so that BS strong arm tactics will GIVE him what he wants.

It's very depressing. Ky & OH both needed a positive outcome from this.

P.S. Also on Sunday night KOI racing report on 700WLW radio, at 7:15pm, Mark S from Sparta was on with a very disingenuous apology in many opinions. Played up the fun & what a great race it was! All the local happy talk before the race seemed to turn local talk/writers into blaming the victims. If I didn't know better I'd think all of Cincy media was lobotomized so BS can get another race next year. I've SEEN the truth on Twitter & that's about it. Then again local radio is owned by Clear Channel. They like to be mean to people, including their own employees.

Sophia said...

p.s. Clay & others, didn't read thru the comments. Sorry to duplicate the same gripes but many of us are on the same page with the full blame should go on SMI. They should've hired better State Troopers who would've HELPED OUT the traffic better.

Somebody said in Charlotte, SMI hires off duty patrolman to help with traffic. Then again Charlotte has MUCH better interstates. Still, curious to know if that's true about hiring of law folks. I know I can't believe EVERYTHING i hear or read...but :)

p.s. I only saw part o HR. Turned off after the Steve B interview so if Larry Mac came to the fans defense, Kudos to him!

Anonymous said...

Mr.B. Smith. I don't want to use my purchased tickets at any of your future events anywhere on the planet or any other Nascar events. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!! You had years to prepare since purchasing this facility. You chose to be a snake oil salesman and take all the money you could possibly get.The "compensation" of honoring a ticket at another Smith owned track or for next years race is pathetic, arrogant, and the height of the "Kiss my rear this is NASCAR and we can do whatever we want and if you don't like it--tough beans."

OSBORNK said...

I think Sophia is exactly right to file a protest with your credit card company. SMI sold you a product that they did not deliver. If I was a victim and since I'm retired, I would file a claim in small claims court and ask for other expenses in addition to the ticket price. If I buy a product and it is not delivered, I expect to be made whole again. When I worked, retired folks were the most difficult because they had the time to do make your life miserable if they felt wronged.

GinaV24 said...

Taped Race Hub to watch since I wasn't at home. Very inadequate response from Smith, but I'm not particularly surprised. The words "I'm sorry" just seems impossible for a lot of these people.

Since I no longer watch Raceday or any pre-race shows and TNT barely addressed it during the race, I wouldn't have known about it except for twitter and people talking about it on the race blog.

I agree with the others who have stated that it isn't JUST the money for the tickets. It's the time lost, gas which is NOT cheap, hotels, airfare, food, all those things which people buy thinking they are going to have a great time and what a disappointment. If this had happened to me, I would never go back that track. I think a refund is justified, but since all tickets come with a "all sales are final" caveat, the fans are probably stuck.

After watching the incredibly boring race on TV and hearing the scanner traffic from the drivers, getting a ticket to next year's race wouldn't be worth it to me.

I've been reading some comments made by other "writers" who have said - the fans should have left more time to get there - well how much time -- I know we usually try and get there 4 hrs before green flag, but I don't think blaming the fans is a good choice here.

So NASCAR Now will be moved to 3 p.m. -- no particular surprise - NASCAR is NOT on ESPN's hot properties list. I have to record it, I am not home at 5 p.m. Eastern either.

GinaV24 said...

I just read through all the comments and came across the ones about hiring law enforcement for traffic control.

Last year, Bruton was being a jerk about paying law enforcement for traffic control before the September NH race. There was a noticeable coolness from law enforcement (who had always been really helpful before) at that race.

Traffic control is SO key at the tracks and its not as if SMI doesn't have prior experience with it - even if not at KY.

Bruton's pretty good at strongarm tactics -- after all it worked to get his dragstrip built at Charlotte.

I hope the Gov of KY and the taxpayers in particular don't cave in to his demands.

glenc1 said...

Gina, that's all coming back to me now about NH. It's a debate in every city for public events like ball games, etc, how much the cost of security/police comes from the venue/team & how much comes from the taxpayers. It's like he just wants us to pay for everything when he's a bazillionaire and we're in a bad economy. The states get that money from *us*, not the sports gods. And he and his mouthpiece, Marcus, tell us on these shows how they went out and directed traffic, as if that helps.

Sophia, I read through many angry comments on the Daugherty article also. A number of people have said they were there, waiting in line *at* the track as early as 10am. And it took 4-6 hours to get into the lots. That ought to have been plenty early; no excuse for that but poor planning from SMI. Lines, you expect, but they should be moving steadily. I hope people do not blame the state or the DOT after everything I've read.

In a strange side note--I didn't know this, but someone who won tickets for a ISC event, when he called & said he lived too far, they offered to switch them to a closer track. I gripe about the ISC a lot, but that's a good way to treat your customer, even one who didn't pay.

William said...

I didn't know there were problems at the track till I saw it mentioned here. Not to make light of a bad situation, but they really didn't miss anything, unless you like hearing cars go by.

Do the announcers on TNT get paid by the word? If so they lost money last week.

Sophia said...

Not in Ky myself, but seeing as how so many were THRILLED to get this event & promote it like THE SUPER BOWL, it's really PAINFUL to still hear so many from Greater Cincy Media blaming the fans. All so BS can strong arm tactic to get roads built. Somebody said Smith wanted to use fans displeasure as pawns to get what he wants. Guess this is the history of BS from what others tell me. I had no idea the man was like that until I heard him on local radio putting Ky on blast for the worst interstate ever (I-71) Not much comfort for poor families/out of work folks (and there are MANY OF US in Ky/OH!) who splurged to go to a CUP race in their back yard.

Does Bruton REALLY expect folks to drive all over again for his empty promises? Car wear, money for gas/PRICEY hotels, and as Gymmie said, many folks use days left off of work for family events. Or after splurging on the race, many will cut back on the rest of their annual expense. Is Bruton gonna pay for their hotel rooms?? Local folks didn't HAVE to stay in a hotel room so that would be added to the budget for his "Free tickets". Nobody is bringing that up either. (Smh=shaking my head)

I'm STUNNED nobody brought that up to these guys to their face but I know BS is very powerful.

I'd leave a link to some of the local radio shows but I know I can't do that here, but it's really sad to hear stories of handicapped people could not get to the race or families turning around, and they DID leave early. If there is no room for 10 lbs of flour in a 5 lb bag, guess what? Still gonna not make it in the bag. You'll have spillage (i.e., traffic overflow in the race due to lack of parking)

The lack of parking lots seems to be the big White Elephant in the room. I also know Dustin Long provided a link that said when the CUP race at Sparta was first announce, BS wanted to build a small airport nearby. That was HIS main concern. Sigh.

This is still in the local news, big time. Indeed, file a Protest to your credit card company. Many from this area wanted to attend a race for the first & only time. The lack of empathy to the true fact of the problem (Not enough parking) continues to flummox.

I really need to avoid local news on tv/radio on this subject. Just makes me sad for those who got screwed all over again & I feel helpless :-(

p.s. This is the last time (i hope) I'm venting on this topic. I'm sorry if I sound redundant..it just hurts to 'hear' the disappointment in fan's voices & know they are out a LOT of money. Something not "felt" as much from just reading text/words in a paper. $200 or 300 is nothing to Smith but to families on a budget, it's a helluva lot. For many this was a HUGE extravagance from the normal family budget!!

And Glen, Paul D has NO clue the real story. The lack of empathy from him does not surprise me.

I need to go watch a cartoon ;-/ and avoid the news for a few days. I'm sure NASCAR has moved on to the next topic; the next race.

brsteg said...

The state of Ky and the Gov. there of better give Bruton what he wants. Bruton is bringing in millions of dollars into the state of Kentucky by bringing in the Sprint Cup Series. If the tax payers and Ky has to pay that back out to fix the roads, namely I-71 which needs to be worked on; then that's fair because we the tax payers ans citizens of Kentucky will be getting it back out of the event. If they don't give Bruton what he wants, which are things needed, then Bruton will have no problem taking his Cup date to Las Vegas. If we lose our Cup race then we lose millions annually instead of that as a one time expenditure.
SMI and Bruton as owner have work they need to do including building more roads in off of I-71 and adding parking. Enough blame to go around for Sat. night.
But people saying to not give Bruton that things he wants are just crazy. Is he going to profit for it, probably immensely; but we the fans and citizens of Kentucky will also.

Gymmie said...

I didn't experience the 1997 TMS one but from folks who said they were there (have seen several & all say the same thing) is that this is different from TMS 1997 because it was raining so a lot of the spots in the dirt & grass were not able to be used. Regardless yes there were first race traffic issues but it was compounded by the rain which made spots unusable but they did get everyone in.

Sophia--I work for a CC (this is based on the co I work for others may have other options) & under the FAIR you only have 60 days to dispute a charge, it's actually 65 (5 days for mailing and then 2 billing cycles). Also, we're often limited to the merchants policies on refunds. There maybe some exceptions which is why it goes through a dispute process. And how ours works is that we run it through & ask questions, for some if it's a non-refundable ticket then we can't open it. And for us, if we can't open it due to FAIR or merchant policies due to a non-refundable ticket then our hands are tied & the cardmember won't be credited.

Other CCs may have other policies but that's how we work. People can still try but when it comes to tickets, whether for airfare, concerts, sporting events, the general industry policy is that unless you purchased insurance you're SOL. And with insurance many have tight restrictions as to what they'll cover. Now the merchant under some circumstances can offer refunds regardless (i.e. a concert & the artist canceled they may refund or offer the tickets for the rescheduled date). So unless their card comes with a benefit that covers events, again we do have some cards that do *however* it's very strict what's allowed a refund (i.e. has to be medical, were in a accident trying to get there, cardmembers death).

Newracefan said...

Marcus Smith, well the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Yes he did come on the Hub but instead of admitting fault and giving people their money back he deflected. The whole thing continues to make me angry. I firmly believe they knew it was going to be bad. Watch Trackside when Bruton was on for confirmation. Maybe not this bad and intended to use it to force the state to pay for infrastructure and a frickin airport. An airport colse by might help the drivers but it sure won't help most fans. I go to Dover, not exactly known for it's ease of travel but there are Troopers directing traffic, signs telling you the lot is full with plenty of notice to pick another one. Closed highway ramps with signs telling you in advance it's closed. No left turns even at traffic lights to bog down intersections. I've waited no more then 20 minutes to park and that was once but usually idle for about an hour to get off the lot then it moves solwly for some distance but it moves. What a disgrace and I get why it was somewhat ignore by raceday and TNT, I don't get why Bruton wasn't back on NN and the Hub begging for forgiveness instead of posturing to get something more from the state. Basically the fans were a pawn.

Gymmie said...

Wanted to clarify above about FAIR, some folks may have purchased within 2 months of the event, but others, especially coming out of town may have purchased early. So those under the 60 days or 2 billing cycles of their purchase may still be able to attempt a dispute but those who purchased early may have much more difficulty there. There's also some other factors where sometimes a dispute *can* be opened up past that 60 days but there's certain criteria that has to be met. So didn't mean to sound like I was discouraging anyone from trying, just wanted to give a heads up that CCs often have their hands tied & if they can't dispute it or aren't willing to eat it & credit the cardmember, they maybe SOL.

Debby said...

We have been going to this track since it opened in 2000. They have NEVER been able to get people in and out of there!!! We barely made it to the first race, truck race won by Biffle, and it took forever to get out. In 2005 I sent a letter to the track GM, Mark Cassis, and complained about the lack of knowledgeable people that park cars!! They let people park where they wanted, take up 2-3 spaces, etc. They hired the worst parking service each and every year. I told Cassis that they need adults and aggressive people who knew what to do and could keep things orderly. Most were young kids who were busy with their cell phone. He did reply and offered the same "it will never happen and will be better next year." I still have the letter, and weeks ago reminded several journalists, as well as DW when he started spouting off about how wonderful the track would be, that they had better take care of their parking problem. SMI, Kentucky State Patrol and Nascar did not do their due dilligence. Troopers were sitting in their cars this year and did not take advantage of any of the lanes available to get more people in. And the parking people were just as bad as ever. Sorry for the ranting. And yes, you do need to leave early to get to any race you are going to, not just Kentucky Speedway. I hope that because of the negative national attention this has gotten, they get it fixed. I am in the Cincinnati area and our radio/TV people were advising all week to leave early and they have been very vocal about the problems many people had. Just fix it.
Sophia, Paul Daugherty is not my favorite sports writer on ANY subject.

Vince said...

The best thing Bruton had going for him all these years was Humpy Wheeler and Bruton fired him.

Bruton knew all along there would be traffic, parking, concession and bathroom problems and he chose to do nothing about it. Bruton is not some country bumpkin, this is not his first new race track. To see his smug face on tv blaming the state of KY for his problems is a joke. Bruton and his spawn Marcus knew exactly what they were doing all along. All they care about is squeezing every last dime they can get out of the fans and putting it in their pockets.

Bruton should be fined by NASCAR and put on double secret probation for "actions detrimental to the sport".

I sincerely feel bad for all the fans that sat in line for hours and never got in to see a race. The first time fans, the handicapped fans etc. I hope they band together, get a good lawyer and file a class action lawsuit against SMI to refund the FULL price of their tickets plus offer them a free ticket to a SMI race of their choice in the future.

Personal opinion here....
The dolts in the local Cincy media blaming the fans for this fiasco doesn't surprise me. A lot of the media now days are just lap dogs for one corporation or another. Most of them haven't had an origional thought in years.

Debby said...

Vince, agree with you about the Cincinnati media. LOL!! And I live here!! Even our newspaper is the worst in the country.

Erica104 said...

Is there anyone at NASCAR thinking at all. The one cahnce to get it right and they roll the dice again. For business people they don't seem to have any vision or did they realize what might happen and just roll the dice cause they wanted money in hand.

After all the pushing DW and so many others did to get this spot they had a year to get their act together. Ticket sales were down and I guess Bruton wanted to make his money back from Atlanta, Charlotte and a few other tracks. Money is not easy to come by for so many people. Just disgusted. With the amount for people in very high paying positions where are the visionaries that can get the job done.

Ken-Michigan said...

JD -

Regarding the pre-shows lack of "traffic" coverage...

The shows I saw did mention the traffic issues, including Bruton's personal commentary on the traffic problems, and helicopter shots of traffic backed up on I-71.

What more did you want the pre-race shows to do ? They (RaceDay or TNT) certainly couldn't help the traffic situation any. People in the traffic aren't tuned into the TV pre-race shows for traffic updates.

Did you expect an entire segment or more on the backed up traffic ??

Hell, we've seen these networks not even cover stories following a race that SHOULD HAVE been covered and followed up on...and you expect them to cover traffic ??

Allen Iverson would say "Traffic....we're talking about Traffic".

I'm in no way defending the race track, because SMI and the local authorities were totally unprepared and deserve the blame.

But since this is a TV subject... I have to agree with how the producers handled the traffic issue. They made mention of it, they showed the back up and from a racing TV show standpoint, the issue didnt deserve any more air time.

If the cars in traffic were on fire and peoples lives were being lost in traffic....different story.

But these were racing pre-race shows and you want them to devote segment(s) on "Traffic"??

We're talkin' about traffic !

Anonymous said...

it's not just 'traffic' Ken. It's people who paid hundreds for tickets they never got to use. That's comparable to the seat fiasco at the Superbowl, where yes, they did report it at length, interviewing the involved parties and showing workers scrambling. I think they 'touched' the subject on Saturday, but not to the extent that it warranted.

Daly Planet Editor said...


One of the functions of the "RaceDay" program on SPEED is to keep viewers up to date on the stories happening in the hours prior to the race.

By the time that show went on the air, the traffic problem was well underway and being discussed by the NASCAR reporters at the track.

Bruton's political spouting was not about the current traffic issues, but about the overall refusal of the Kentucky state government to build new roads in the area.

Whether or not to update the traffic situation, which became national news for days after the fact, was something that was decided by the show producer and his boss.

Perhaps, as I mentioned in my post, had DW been informed of the disaster in progress during a commercial break he might not have been so over-the-top with his comments about the race and crowd.

What many TV viewers like about "RaceDay" is that rather than a scripted pre-race show like "Countdown to Green," Wendy and Hermie are actually reporters who update stories as they happen.

For me, this was a litmus test as to whether or not "RaceDay" would tackle an issue that might be perceived as "negative" to the sport.

"RaceDay" did not pass the test.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that Texas Motor Speedway did, in fact, offer full monetary refunds for the CART race that was postponed, then cnceled, in April 2001. So it is not completely unheard of for a track to offer refunds. Moreover, that farce was not the blame of TMS at all, as they had tried to get CART to hold open tests there before the race was to be held. Then, to make matter worse, CART waited until fans were in the stands and cars were lined up on pit road before deciding to cancel the event. Even so, TMS,Eddie Gossage, and Bruton Smith stepped up and did the right thing. Bruton should do the right thing again at Kentucky.


Mule said...

Raceday, Nascar Now, Race Hub are all "yes" men. Nascar's wonderful, Goodyear's great, yada yada.
They were 50-60 laps into green flag racing for the Nationwide event and cars were still lined up trying to get to the track. I'd be willing to bet the "Gag" order was on. Nothing negative about Nascar or you end up on the super secret fine list, or on the outside looking in.
As a race fan, traffic is a fact of life. I've been in worse but that doesn't make it any easier to tolerate. While the traffic seems to be the main topic, there were many other issues making this other than a fan friendly event. Not to mention the race was a snoozer except for re-starts.
How does a company with the depth that SMI has oversell their parking capacity? They don't, not by an alleged mistake or error in judgement.
From the time they found out they had a Cup date its been a rush job and hyped for a sellout. Kentucky Speedway was not ready for an event of this magnitude. Even had the parking attendants, if you found one, utilized the available space more efficiently, there wasn't enough room.
So now the unfortunate fallout from this event, casual or first time fans won't go to another Cup race. Fan's that went because it was close and may not have afforded it otherwise won't return either. No matter how many TV appearences and how many promises there are to make it better the next time, the damage is done. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

AllisonJ said...

Rather stunning to read the Cincy media defending the Agents Smith and blaming the troopers, etc. when the problem was clearly at the entry to the track, the lack of parking control, the lack of space, food and drink running out by half time, not enough bathrooms, etc. etc.

And no cash refunds? Thieves. More proof that fans are nothing more than hosts for wealthy parasites.

Steve B on Racehub on Monday night? Heck, it might as well have been a SMI commercial. Steve has the journalistic hunger of a 4 year old girl.

I see on Caws/Jaws that the race broke the record for the longest string of commercials: 13. And one commercial for every two minutes of racing.


Anonymous said...

Hope you all saw Jimmy Spencer on Race Hub Tuesday night. Jimmy showed a Track Side clip of Durrl and his BFF, Bruton Smith. Smith said Kentucky could be the best event on the Sprint Cup circuit(???). Jimmy skwered Bruton. Bigger than the Daytona 500? Bigger than the Brickyard? Talledega? Jimmy announced a new "award"-the "Straight Jacket" award!! He had a straight jacket as a prop and awarded it to Bruton. Absolutely hilarious. Jimmy takes no prisoners on his Tuesdat night segment.

Tracy D said...

Martinsville isn't easy to get to either. Talk about tiny roads and being in the middle of nowhere! But I can honestly say we have never had a problem getting to the track.

Parking is another issue, as it's precarious when it's wet on those hills they use for parking. Spring race last year, the one run on Monday, had no people to direct those parking, and it was a nightmare. People slipping and sliding their cars into other cars. Guys with four wheel drive trying to haul people out of the muck. I will never go there again because of that fiasco. The track did nothing to help.

And I love the racing there. Love the track. Done with it now.

Sophia said...

I also saw the Jimmy Spencer bit on NHub & found it hilarious!!

I just hope Jimmy still has a job :)
I didn't know Jimmy could be so funny. When I saw that straitjacket being held up, I almost laughed myself out of bed. Oh, my did I need a laugh over this whole black eye of Sparta.

Re: Waltrip, I remember DW being a guest on Wind Tunnel w Despain a few times & would be very honest & forthcoming about some issues w NASCAR,and would have great ideas for the sport (I think he once mentioned starting & ending the season at different times) Why don't we see more of that part of DW? I enjoy that part of his honesty.

Also I don't like to read unmoderated blog comments on a newspaper site because I lose faith in humanity. Brutal way in which NASCAR fans were attacked on the Paul Daugherty blog is stunning. He was a horrible talk show hosts on sports, too. Always mean spirited & grumpy. Never gave people a chance to explain WHY they had their feelings.

Now the Sporting News allegedly is saying Ky should not get another CUP race for 2 yrs (take next yrs race back to ATL) to prepare better. I'm STUNNED they were allowed to rush this race in w/o basic 101 event planning anyway.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a story on YouTube from a Cincinnati TV station. They showed footage of a back-up and said, "Look familiar?" The footage came from the track's opening event in 2001 (?), so they have no excuses for any of this. They knew it was coming.

Wonder if someone will file a class action suit?

KoHoSo said...

Sophia...just so you are aware, many (but not all) of the people that bother to comment on newspaper websites are Internet trolls. They actually don't care about an issue one way or another, they are only trying to get people to create drama for "teh lulz" (the laughs). NASCAR is often an easy target as its fans tend to be so passionate and get angry at the mention of any of the typical stereotypes.

This type of thing is why The Daly Planet is so great. We are allowed to speak openly and have genuine disagreements without the trolling. If only there was a TDP-like site for politics. ;-)

Palmetto said...

KoHoSo, the heck with politics. I'm looking for a moderated site like this that discusses NASCAR beyond the TV coverage. This is a great site, but JD's focus is on the tube. That's what he set the site up to cover and discuss, and I understand his moderating the discussions to stay on-topic. I'm looking for a similar forum to discuss NASCAR in general, something with better moderation and a more educated class of regulars than NASCAR.com.

KoHoSo said...

Palmetto...I mentioned politics kind of as a joke since we all know how well any political discussion goes these days if people hold different views. However, I could not agree more about the need for a good forum that covers the on-the-track product of NASCAR. I've joined a few but have always left in horror or disgust at the moderation (either when it is too lax or too strict). Sadly, it would need to be moderated 24/7 by a full-time staff. I've been a moderator of popular Web forums in the past so, believe me, I know.

Sophia said...


in general don't read newspaper comments but when the article is more personal (about a big community story) I "sometimes do" then always regret it..so I discuss things on Twitter instead. I follow 90% local peeps to stay informed.

NONE of them follow or like NASCAR so good thing I have the small percentage of my NASCAR tweeps :)

Though sometimes I find some comments here to be harsh when somebody is singled out by name & repeatedly hammered...but this isn't my site & I've only recently started posting again after TNT took the reins of the broadcast...disappointing as they were last week.

I try to keep my comments to the truck people (choosing camera views) but I do know I've recently mentioned a host of the races I could do without..but I am sure he is a very nice person!
Just can't believe how many articles/radio/tv shows avoided the "R" word with the Sparta problems.

R as in "Refund" people's money :)

Fed UP said...

I feel really sorry for those who wanted to get to the race and couldn't even get in.

Bruton (who the heck names their kid that anyway?) Smith owes a refund to every ticket holder who could not get in to see the event. No gimmicks, no excuses, do the right thing. Your customers-the paying ones remember? are unhappy. Unhappy customers mean less money.

It is not the state nor the county to fund your access roads into your property, Mr. Smith. That falls upon you as the developer. If you do require taxpayer funded support, then the taxpayers should be sharing in the wealth of that track as well Mr. Smith. However, I don't think that Bruton sees it quite like that. Wants the taxpayers to foot the improvement bills, but yet not share int eh profits. No state should be forced to pay for things such as sporting venues, unless the state gets the direct benefit from it..and I don't mean hotel and restaurnats money, I mean the PROFIT from the event.
If this situation is not rectified, Mr. Smith and SMI put up the money to put in new access roads and parking facilities, then Nascar should take away the race until such a time that is up to par.
Its time for the developers to go back to putting their money on the line. They won't share the profit of the situation, but want taxpayers to fund their developement.

Zieke said...

Why would any sane person want to re-spend all the money just to attend a race that should have been run properly in the 1st place. These owners knew all along the problems that would crop up at that track. Just a sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

To blame this on the Troopers is unfair. Yes, there were Troopers sitting on the interstate to moniter traffic (how can they direct traffic when it's at a stand still); there were Troopers directing traffic at the entrances, but where do you direct traffic if there is NO WHERE to direct them to; where do Troopers direct a bottle necked traffic to if there is no where to park vehicles...problems are with the track and the two lanes into Speedway.