CINCINNATI - The Kentucky Speedway and Kentucky's Governor fought suggestions Wednesday that the track should give up a 2012 Sprint Cup race to allow enough time to correct traffic and parking issues
Reid Spencer wrote in The Sporting News that problems during Saturday's Quaker State 400 require "huge remedial action" and "a more-than-generous gesture to fans who were robbed of their time and money."
Traffic was bumper-to-bumper on Interstate 71 long before the race and the backup continued well after the Quaker State 400 started at 7:45 p.m.
Many fans were turned away and went home because all 33,000 parking spaces on the Speedway grounds were filled.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is assembling a task force to correct the problems before the 2012 race and giving it up is not an option.
"We are looking forward to a bigger and better Sprint Cup race next year," he said in a statement."
Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger didn't comment on The Sporting News article. He apologized to fans on Monday and promised there would not be a repeat in 2012.
Communications Director Tim Bray said the track knows it screwed up and is working feverishly to make things right.
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), which owns Kentucky Speedway, has begun a ticket exchange whereby fans with unused tickets swap them for a 2011 race at SMI facilities or the 2012 Sprint Cup event at Kentucky Speedway.
Spencer said that's not enough, adding refunds are the answer.
"Make it available to anyone who sat in traffic on Saturday or says they did," he wrote. "Here's a more complex idea: Give the 2012 Kentucky date back to Atlanta Motor Speedway and give Kentucky a year to work out the problems with local government and law enforcement, another sector that wasn't blameless in the fiasco."
Asked about refunds, Bray said things are being handled on a case-by-case basis.
Race fan Alan Blume got a ticket to the race from his wife as a birthday present. He left his home in Clermont County's Miami Township around 2:15 p.m., but got to the track at 8:39 p.m.
"When I got off the exit and I was going around the track, I could hear the cars on the speedway, so that was kind of a summer," he said."
Since there was no place to park, Blum turned around, came home and sent in his ticket to exchange it for one for the 2012 race.
However, he said he believes some fans should get their money back.
"If they gave me a refund, I don't think I would take that money and buy a ticket next year to go back."
Blume added he doesn't think skipping a year is a good idea.
"I think the event started in Kentucky, let's keep it in Kentucky," he said.
Sports Illustrated's latest issue took a vastly different approach to the race with an article, "Back On (A New) Track?"
Lars Anderson wrote, "The first Sprint Cup event at Kentucky Speedway was overflowing with fans – a welcome sign for a sport eager to regain its momentum."