Fans describe nightmare at Kentucky Speedway

NASCAR is looking into the traffic fiasco that caused some 15,000 to 20,000 fans to miss the inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway, with Brian France saying "this situation cannot happen again." Once is enough for many of the folks who were caught in the middle of it.

Here are some of their experiences which, like a good wedding reception toast, will start you out laughing – well, maybe not laughing – but the last one will definitely leave you crying:

Unfortunately I was one of the 15 to 20,000 fans that didn't get to see a single lap of this race. I left my home in Louisville, KY at 3:00pm, 55 minutes away from the track. And once I get near the track, within sight, I get forced onto I-70 heading away from the track.

This was with 50 or laps to go, approximately around 10pm. 7 hours in traffic to be forced away from the track. My point of contacting you, is, would you have any idea how I can contact Bruton Smith to be "made good" on this raw deal? I spent $220 for 2 race tickets to listen to it on the radio, stuck in traffic. Thank You !

Steve Koser
Louisville, Ky.

Editor's note: Kentucky Speedway is offering tickets to future races for those affected by the traffic. For information on ticket exchange and redemption, fans should contact the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 859-578-2300 or by email at

Jay, One the things that gets me is all of these people crying about not getting to watch the race are people that could have been there to see it if they had used common sense. I live in MO. Very lucky to get tickets in a weeks notice for myself and my wife.

News networks even told the fans to leave early. So we drove from Cincy and left at 10:30 AM. When we got to the 9 mile mark from the speedway it took 2 1/2 hours to park.

Awesome fans in Kentucky and surrounding area. For it being the Cup race they should have had more trained personal for helping people park when we arrived, it was crazy.

Thanks Kentucky for an awesome time. Just had to be patient. Most people don't have that virtue!!!!

Golden City, Mo.

Jay, the inaugural race was absolutely horrible. 8 1/2 hours before the race started it still took us 2 hours to drive the 25 minutes to the track. Parking attendants were rude and then when I reported their rudeness (shouting at my wife), I was told that I needed to just "brush it off" because they "had a rough weekend."

Shuttle service around the track was pathetic – you couldn't get on a tram because they were always full. Every portable restroom (one every 1/4 mile or so) had lines 20 deep.

Two poor race fans who held tickets just down from us found a giant metal pole where their ticketed seats were supposed to exist (and then the speedway simply brought them two folding chairs and offered nothing else but an apology, told them to be happy they're seeing the race unlike those dealing with the parking debacle).

It took us 5 hours to get from the track to our hotel room 25 miles away. We simply won't be back. Bruton had over a year to get this thing right, and I read his statement blaming the state. It was absolutely pathetic.

Craig Huegen Bartelso, Ill.

Tickets – $270, Hotel – $110, Gas – $140, Food and miscellaneous expenses – $200+. TOTAL LAPS, RACING, OR ACTION SEEN: ZERO!!!!!!!!

We sat in traffic for four hours and when we finally got to the track, state troopers inform us there is no parking available. What an embarrassment and disappointment to true NASCAR fans.

I won't be back. I endured the tire issue at the Brickyard a few years ago and still attend that race every year but this is unacceptable.

What should NASCAR, Bruton Smith, and the Kentucky Speedway do for the twenty thousand plus who missed this event?

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Parking, not the Roads, Has ALWAYS been a problem at KY Speedway. I was at the 3rd Nationwide race Held at KY everyone there thought there wasn't enough parking. Been to at least 1 race a year there since, Parking has always been an issue.

We took a side road into the track (US 127) and were stuck in traffic for 5 hours before turning back. We didn't turn back because we missed the start of the race but because there wasn't any parking within 2 miles of the track.

Mr. Smith is correct in saying that I-71 has problems, however EVERY road was backed up and it's no coincidence that they have added around 30,000 seats and NO more parking.

Want to have another cup race there? ADD PARKING!

Mr. Smith can blame it on the roads all he wants but they normally only have room for around 35,000 cars. Sorry for the long email but I needed to vent. Been a NASCAR fan for a long time and REALLY wanted to see the First Cup Race in KY as my First Cup Race.

CJ Kendrick
Richmond, Ky.

From a lifelong NASCAR fan: Let me tell you what me and my family and friends endure and seen and witnessed last night was enough to make one turn their back on NASCAR!!!!

NASCAR should have never came to Ky Speedway knowing there was no parking available to accommodate more the 120,000 people! We walked over three miles to get there after traveling and sitting in traffic for over six hours!!!!! EVERYONE that attended that race should get a refund!!! IT WAS OUR FIRST AND LAST RACE TO THAT VENUE!!!! And probably the last race I will EVER attend!

Karen Burge-Valandingham
Olive Hill, Ky.

My wife and I were there. Leaving after the Nationwide race on Friday was a nightmare. On Saturday it took more than three hours to travel 50 miles from Louisville – and we left at noon! We found a place to park way out from the Speedway and found a shuttle to take us to the track but, since the race was a parade with Kyle putting on a clinic, we left our seats at Lap 175 and were able to get out of the facility without a hitch.

It was horrible. I am sure that the shuttles became totally useless later with the mass of people and vehicles, and the designated road for shuttles was akin to a ploughed field. I believe that the local sheriffs add to the problem with their convoluted ideas of what might work and flashing lights to confuse everything. Completely out of their depth in traffic control.

I have been to various NASCAR races for more than 30 years. This is the last. Never again will I subject myself to this torture for mediocre racing. I think that the message is that Bruton Smith shut up and stop blaming everybody else.

Chris Hebeler
St. Louis, Mo.

I sat 5 hours on I-71 and never got into the track. I would like my money back. Bought 2 tickets for $190.00. Ky is not ready for a NASCAR race. Please help.

Ed Adams
Fairborn, Ohio

Jay, I was at Kentucky Saturday night and I could go on about the traffic and about the 7 hours it took me to get to the track from Louisville which is a meek 45 minute drive. I won't do that though because thousands I'm sure are already doing the same thing.

One thing broke my heart last night and made me feel extremely helpless and I'd like to at least bring it to attention. When we finally pulled onto Kentucky Speedway property they were already doing the flyover, now it still took us another 45 minutes to actually park. They shoved us up onto a hill directly under the high voltage transmission lines in Section 14, a very hilly walk to the track that would take at least 1.5 miles.

My husband and I saw 3 people that were wheelchair bound including a young boy. They had to give up going to the track because there was no way they could get their wheelchairs down that rocky gravel road and then up to the speedway and there were no accessible vans able to come up to that section.

I had to see a little boy with Down Syndrome start crying when his dream of going to this race was shattered because it was impossible to get him into the track. That Jay, was the straw that broke me.

Jocelyn P.
Louisville, Ky.

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