Mike Helton and Bruton Smith address Kentucky issues

NASCAR President Mike Helton addressed the media about
the fallout of Kentucky Speedway
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

One week later the blame game and discussions on Kentucky have continued. Today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, NASCAR President Mike Helton addressed the media and spoke on the issues at hand by saying, “We take what happened last weekend very seriously. Immediately conversations opened up between NASCAR, the track, Speedway Motorsports, from the highest of levels on the NASCAR side and the highest of levels on Speedway Motorsports side, Jim France, Brian France, Lesa Kennedy, Bruton Smith, Marcus, everybody is engaged in this topic. The intent is to find out exactly what happened so that a cure or fix can be determined. We will not rest until we have figured that out.

"As you know, we're in that time of year when we are working on the next season's calendar, so the timing of this is very important.

"It was very unfortunate that it happened. We're sorry for the fans that were touched by that unfortunate episode. We will not let this fall to the wayside until we get resolution to it.”

Helton seemed empathetic towards the situation that occurred and resolute that this will not happen again. On the flip-side, Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman and founder, also spoke to the media about the egregious situation at Kentucky. Blame was spread around, but what lacked was empathy for the fans.

Several key remarks from Smith:

“I'm sincerely sorry everybody did not get in. I'm sorry we had the traffic – although I had continuously warned people about that Interstate 71. I told everybody that would listen that that Interstate 71 sucked. I mean, it's terrible. It's the lousiest piece of interstate that I've ever driven on.”

Bruton address the parking situation by saying, “We had a company employed to do the parking. I think they had a lot of inexperienced people; I did not think they did a very good job on parking. I think they did a lousy job.”

Continuing on the parking situation, Bruton said, “Our general manager had worked with a lot of the adjoining property owners that were parking (cars). We've studied these aerial (pictures), and our neighbors who were going to do all this parking, they didn't do a very good job, either.”

It was said that more tickets were sold then there was room available to park. Smith answered that by saying, “No, we didn't sell too many. We still had room remaining in the infield. We could have taken another 15,000 people in the infield.”

The hottest topic of debate: why won’t SMI offer a refund to the fans who were unable to make it into the race? Smith answered by saying, “We've offered the exchange of tickets. Are you talking about a cash refund? No, did not (offer that). And we will not. We don't want to. That's factual.”

Blame abounds, but results need to be seen to regain the fans' trust after the Kentucky Speedway debacle. Bruton Smith did say he will be meeting with the governor of Kentucky. Hopefully for the sport and for the fans, a resolution can be found before next year's race.
Mike Helton and Bruton Smith address Kentucky issues Mike Helton and Bruton Smith address Kentucky issues Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, July 15, 2011 Rating: 5