When I first started to think about what to write this week, the obvious thing seemed to be the huge traffic debacle at the Sprint Cup race in Kentucky this weekend. However, it also seems that I?m not the only one who thought that.
Apparently every columnist, news writer, and blogger out there had the same idea. You can?t turn on the computer without your screen being filled with stories about how bad it was. So I will leave it to all of them to fill you in on the details.
This certainly wasn?t the first time that an inaugural NASCAR race had significant traffic problems. Texas Motor Speedway had similar problems in 1997. And I remember covering the first NASCAR Cup race at Infineon Raceway (they called it Sears Point Raceway in those days) in Northern California in 1989.
I was standing in a photo area at the highest point on the track. All of the pre-race ceremonies were completed and the cars were slowly climbing the hill behind the pace car. From my vantage point, I could look out to the south and see the sunshine glinting off the windshields of the cars.
Not the race cars. I was looking at all the cars belonging to fans still trying to get to the track. It was a rare crystal clear day and I could see the little two lane road leading all the way back to Vallejo, some 10 miles away. What I couldn?t see was where that line of cars ended.
I?m sure some of those fans never got to see the race, just like many of the fans trying to get to Kentucky Speedway on Saturday.
The organizers at Sears Point that day, just as those in Kentucky, were completely unprepared for a crowd of that size.
And also, just like the Sears Point officials, the officials at Kentucky will solve the problem and things will be better next year and even better in the years after that.
These traffic problems will not be permanent; Kentucky Speedway just has to hope that the PR damage done this year isn?t.
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