First, as many of you know, I am an avid NASCAR fan and I was one of the many who was not able to attend the race. I took some back roads including US 42 to avoid the brunt of it, but still sat in traffic for three hours before giving up. Most of the reports I read said 12-15 mile back ups. I was watching Google traffic and the red areas (stop and go traffic) extended from the speedway up onto I-71/75 to the north and to US 421 south at their peaks (50-60 miles total). And, even at 9:30pm when I gave up, there was still about 10 miles to the north and 15 miles to the south!
No, I didn't expect it to be as good as other tracks, but this was way over the top. Also, Kentucky Speedway has been hosting top level NASCAR races since 2000 and they routinely got 60,000 fans. So, it's not like they have no experience with traffic!
I'm not saying this because I work for them, but there is no way that KYTC can be blamed for this.
Agreed. First and foremost the blame goes to Bruton Smith and his Speedway Motorsports, Inc. From a corporate standpoint, this is total incompetence as they also run Bristol, TN; Charlotte, NC; and Atlanta, GA. And, the track presidents (GMs?) from those three tracks were there. All three tracks handle or have handled much bigger crowds than that and I-81 is only 2 lanes each way in the Bristol area.
SMI had an even bigger traffic disaster in 1997 for the first race at Texas Motor Speedway. But, that was the first year any races were held there.
Some blame also goes to the Kentucky State Troopers who just blocked things off and shrugged when I asked them where should I go. Someone from the troopers should have been in touch with the SMI people!
They already rebuilt KY 35 in the area, built a new alignment of 35 south from I-71 to Sparta to connect with the improved route that turns into US 127 and leads to Frankfort (a good alternative route), built a new exit at the speedway, and built a connector road to the Markland Dam. KYTC can't be blamed for the speedway having a lack of parking or for what the speedway people did with traffic once it left the state highway system and entered the speedway property.
What I don't understand is why traffic would have been more of an issue here than, say, at Pocono. I-80 there is only four lanes, and there is only one exit (PA 115) for the speedway.
On Pocono, you're exactly right. Now, capacity there is about 80,000. But, as you said, I-80 is only four lanes there (or anywhere else in PA except for climbing lanes). PA 115 is only a two lane road that they make into three lanes inbound only before and outbound only after. I've never had a problem getting in or out of there! There are some alternate routes but only if you're good with Delorme or a GPS!
And isn't there only one main exit off I-20 to Talladega?
No, there are two exits off I-20 to Talladega. From Birmingham and west you have Exit 168 (AL 77) and for Atlanta and east Exit 173 (Talladega county 5). There are also multiple routes in on arterials from the north and south. My brother and I quickly learned that these are MUCH quicker into the track coming from middle Tennessee. Even so, they got over 200,000 when the economy was good.http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Talladega+Superspeedway,+Speedway+Boulevard,+Talladega,+AL&hl=en&ll=33.583449,-86.071186&spn=0.067214,0.154324&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=32.38984,79.013672&t=h&z=13
Someone referenced the Kentucky Derby. I think most of the parking there is on private property away from the track. From what I've seen, Churchill Downs actually has very little parking on-site.
The same goes for Bristol and Indianapolis. But, those tracks TELL YOU that there is not adequate parking on speedway property. But, even that wouldn't have been enough on Saturday night, as there simply were not enough off track spaces to handle the overflow unless you wanted to walk 4 or 5 miles each way!
Fortunately, they have offered ticket exchanges to those of us that couldn't make it.http://www.jayski.com/cupnews.htm#tracks
I'll let everyone know how that goes!