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Kentucky race in Sparta-cuss

Attendees of races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway never should complain about traffic delays during the annual NASCAR weekend.

And certainly not after the Sprint Cup Series debuted Saturday at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta that would be better called Sparta-cuss.

Language used by tens of thousands stuck in traffic and thousands denied access to the track would have made the skankiest rapper blush.

I’d call it a fiasco, but a friend who was there said that would be an insult to the word “fiasco.”

Imagine spending upwards of four or five hours in gridlock with tickets in hand to attend a Cup race and then be told you can’t get into the speedway because there was nowhere to park.

Or, you get there at 9 in the morning to beat traffic and discover the gates won’t open until 2 p.m. and there are only a few Porta-Potties and no concessions outside the gates.

If you got into the grandstands for the race you discover, well before the last lap, the concessionaire had run out of most drinks — including water — and food at most stands.

Spectators also complained on Twitter about a lack of restrooms and the cleanliness of those that existed.

It was not a good night for the Kentucky track that, like the one in Las Vegas, is owned by Speedway Motor Sports Inc.

It will go down as one of the darkest nights as a promoter for SMI boss Bruton Smith.

Each failure fell in an area that Smith prizes most: traffic, toilets and the fan experience.

Kentucky still has not addressed how it will compensate those stopped from entering.

Nothing less than a full refund and free tickets for next year’s return should be offered, that is, once the track can determine which ticket holders were shut out.

Actually, I smell lawsuits. Pity the locked out fan who not only lost out on attending the race but also wasted money for gas and possibly lodging.

I still do not recall hearing anyone from the Kentucky track apologize.

It was not a good night for thousands left with unused tickets.

But it was a good night for race sponsor Quaker State, which already has started to produce a new ad campaign for next year:

“Remember last year’s Kentucky race when your car idled in traffic for hours? Be prepared this time by keeping it lubricated with Quaker State.”


Kentucky Speedway and SMI officials issued a statement at 1 p.m. Monday that included the use of “apology/apologies” three times.

Marcus Smith, Bruton’s son and SMI president/chief executive, said those with unused tickets can use them at any of the six remaining 2011 Cup races at SMI tracks or for next year’s Cup race at Kentucky.

Apologizing and the ticket offers are a good start. Still, not quite enough.


The U.S. House of Representatives last week voted to defend U.S. military sponsorship of motor sports against an effort to cut spending by more than half for the programs.

The amendment by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., was defeated 167-260.

That’s good news for teams in NHRA and NASCAR sponsored by the Army, along with others backed by the U.S. Air Force and National Guard.


Kyle Busch started his four-day race weekend by winning the Camping World Truck Series race Thursday at Kentucky Speedway then followed two days later by winning the Cup race at the same track.

On Sunday, while most other Cup drivers were resting or partying, Kyle was winning a Late Models stock-car race in Wisconsin.

The only blemish to his “quadruple” was a third-place run in the Nationwide Series on Friday.

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