When Kentucky Speedway hosted its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race last summer, the area across the road was farmland. This year, 170 acres of it will be used for parking as speedway officials try to avoid the traffic nightmare that plagued last year's race.
This was the scene last summer when thousands of people got stuck in traffic coming in to the race. Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger says track officials had one concept moving forward from last year.
"What do you need to make this thing right? Well, what you need, is more..."
More of everything, says Simendinger. The off-ramp from I-71 has been widened, Route 35 is being expanded to seven lanes, and there will be room for up to 20,000 more cars in newly expanded parking lots.
"The goal is, every person from last year, I want to come. The goal is to set this thing up so that we can handle them all," says Simendinger.
Track officials brought in Lexington traffic engineering firm Stantec to help this year. Stantec also did the engineering for the double crossover diamond interchange here in Lexington.
"It's a very powerful tool, gives you some very detailed information, and lets you analyze a lot of different scenarios," says Tom Creasey, a senior associate with Stantec.
Simendinger says the construction should be finished by mid-May before the track's first race of the season. He also says two-thirds of the spectators who couldn't get in last year opted to use a voucher to come back this year.