Gov. Beshear Surveys Kentucky Speedway Construction
Kentucky Speedway officials provided Gov. Steve Beshear a guided tour of new construction areas today as the facility readies for its season-opening NASCAR tripleheader weekend that will culminate with the inaugural Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400" July 9.
Gov. Beshear viewed a new Pit Road site that will be 200 feet closer to the speedway's lower bowl grandstands as well as framework for the new Ohio Tower and Kentucky Tower grandstands that will increase the venue's capacity from 66,089 to 117,000.
"It's very impressive what is going on here and all of the advances that have been made in a very short time. I knew when (Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Chairman) Bruton Smith said he was going to do something, he'd do it and he's not letting us down. We're looking forward to hosting that first (Sprint Cup) race and the more than 100,000 people that will be packed in here to see it," Gov. Beshear said.
He added he can feel statewide momentum building as drivers Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and their fellow stars prepare for their Sparta arrival.
"You can feel the excitement building for July the ninth in Kentucky. The track has been open since 2000. We've had a number of Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and other various events, but we've always wanted this Sprint Cup Series race. When I became governor, one of my goals was to make this happen.
"In 2009, we passed legislation with some additional incentives to entice Mr. Smith to make this decision. He made it and it's going to be a tremendous event for the state. It will generate a big economic impact. Some estimate $150 million a year for one week. That's a great investment in my mind. Kentuckians will be very proud of what they do here at Kentucky Speedway. It's going to be very, very exciting for us," he said.
The first of two 2011 Kentucky Speedway event weekends opens with a 225-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series battle July 7 and continues with a 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race July 8 before the "Quaker State 400" captures the spotlight July 9. Action will continue Oct. 1 with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "UNOH 225" before the season closes with an Oct. 2 open-wheel doubleheader race day featuring a 100-mile Firestone Indy Lights sprint race along with a 300-mile IZOD IndyCar Series battle.
Tickets and campsites for all events can be reserved by clicking the "Tickets" and "Camping" links at the bottom of this page.
Story by Mike Schmaltz