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And now Bruton Smith speaks.....

  Bruton Smith: Kentucky Speedway just hosted 'the biggest NASCAR crowd of the season' (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern



   Bruton Smith does not do 'contrite.'
   And the NASCAR mega-track owner obviously believes the best defense is a good offense – in Friday afternoon's highly entertaining, rollicking humorous, and pointedly contentious press conference here over that stunning traffic jam at his Kentucky Speedway last weekend, Smith threw just about everyone under the bus.
   But, as one wag said, "no harm was done, because the bus was still stuck in traffic on I-71 and not moving."

   Just hours after NASCAR president Mike Helton, almost angrily, vowed to fix whatever the traffic problems were at the Cincinnati area track, Smith, who owns that track, and this track, was vigorously defending most everything about NASCAR's Sprint Cup tour debut at that speedway…in a simply stunning performance, that left many listeners virtually speechless.
   Listening to Smith, it was hard to tell if he was in some denial about last weekend's traffic, or simply defensive after nearly a week of repeated complaints from angry fans who had to deal with all that traffic.
   But you can't deny he was very entertaining….with a rapid-fire run of one-liners.
   Smith conceded the Kentucky weekend was trying "and we've all learned a great deal."
   And Smith vowed "We do know how to fix these things...and we will fix them.
   "We have more money invested in this sport than anyone...$3 billion...so when we say we'll fix it, we will fix it.
   "We will do whatever it takes."
   However Smith was in no way contrite or humble about the Kentucky situation. Indeed he was very feisty and combative in defense.
   "I don't think anyone could have foreseen what happened…except maybe God," Smith said.

   -- Smith insisted he had no plans at all to offer refunds to fans who didn't make it into the Kentucky track, or who only got inside in time to watch half or less of the event. "Cash refund? No. And we will not."
   -- Smith said he had a big meeting planned with Kentucky governor Steve Beshear next week, and among the things he plans to bring up are construction of a possible third Interstate exit near the track.
   -- Smith called the Kentucky crowd "the largest of the season," though he did not offer any specific figures. "We had a lot more than 107,000. We were planning for 150,000."
   -- Smith ripped rival NASCAR promoters who have criticized the Kentucky fiasco, pointedly Michigan's Roger Curtis, who says he is worried the Kentucky mess could set NASCAR racing back "years" in the Midwest.
   -- Smith hinted as many as 150,000 people might have attended, or tried to attend, the Kentucky 400. And he said there was still room for more: "No, we didn't sell too many tickets. We had room for 15,000 more in the infield.
    "Mark Simendinger (the Kentucky track general manager) and his people did an outstanding job promoting that event."
   -- Smith said he had warned well before the race that the main access route, I-71, "would be bad." And he again called that stretch of road "the lousiest piece of Interstate I've ever driven on. I continuously warned people about I-71. It sucks.
   "Remember we don't control what happens out there on the interstate. I wish we did."
   -- Still Smith insisted all the traffic had been cleared from speedway property "in three hours and 20 minutes."
   -- Smith said he had spent more than $100 million on Kentucky Speedway since buying it, "and we've got a lot more to do."
   -- But Smith hemmed and hawed when asked if he might threaten to move that Cup weekend to another track if politicians don't offer major traffic help. "Vegas, baby," he said with a grin. "In Las Vegas we asked for help, and they responded immediately, and we got seven lanes." Smith said so far Kentucky politicians have not adequately responded. "I'm hoping it will be different now."
   And what precisely will Smith be talking about with Beshear?
   "I like the governor a lot...But I can't tell you everything I'm going to raise with him."
   Might Smith raise the issue of moving this Kentucky Cup date? "I don't want to answer that at this time. Let's see how our talks with the governor go."
   -- Smith, when asked about parking problems, said "We had a company employed to do parking, and I don't think they did a good job. They did a lousy job.
   "I have looked at aerials, and we had some more parking available."
   Some fans have complained parking attendants were hard to find.
   Smith said he disagreed with a statement from the Kentucky State Police that the basic issue was at the track itself, not the interstate. "I disagree with that completely."
   Smith was so combative at times when pressured by the media here about the Kentucky situation that the press conference went almost surreal. However Smith managed to keep it all incredibly humorous.
   With a pointed nod at the fact that Michigan, Talladega and Homestead are all owned by rival promoters, the France family's International Speedway Corp., Smith said he would not have allowed any of his own track promoters to criticize another track:
   "My daddy once had a jackass, and it was a bad jackass. It got loose and got away. I think we just found it, up in Michigan," Smith said.
   And Smith then repeated his own personal complaints about the Homestead, Fla., race, the tour's season finale, as being held in a part of the country Smith calls 'North Cuba.'
   Well, isn't this track, just south of the Canadian border, perhaps a 'South Canada?'
   Smith shot right back: "We have a lot of Canadians coming here for this race, and we'll play the Canadian National anthem. Do you sing the Cuban national anthem at 'North Cuba?' You ought to.
   "No, I'm not upset by it. I'm just saying it's stupid. And you can't fix stupid.
   "I would have a problem with any of my people knocking Daytona for that pothole. I don't remember any of my people saying anything when Bobby Allison tried to get in the grandstand at Talladega….
   "I'm for NASCAR all the way. I want to build this sport.
   "Now if you want to be critical about something, I'm critical about those 'dancing partners' at Daytona (the two-car drafts). You have to have two cars to win a race? To me that's like Major League Baseball saying  you've got to have two bats when you step up to the plate.
   "So I'm telling NASCAR let's go to work on this car and stop this foolishness of having to have a dancing partner. That's not what we built this sport on. That is not good.
   "We've got things to do. We've got traffic problems…but we've got this dancing partners thing to fix too. And let's see who fixes what first."




Hey Bruton! I think I know

Hey Bruton! I think I know exactly where the family JACKASS ended up!

Bruton is the poster boy for

Bruton is the poster boy for misguided arrogance.

Even being within shouting distance of the worlds biggest adult playground (Las Vegas) I would like to see him fill that race track in July with an average daytime temp. of 104. Even during a night race the temperatures would be in the upper 90's. He has cabin fever in his favor in March. I've been rock climbing in the Red Desert in July (115 f) and even I wouldn't sit for hours in the Vegas sun to watch a race in July. And I doubt many people would after the first time.

I also agree with the state police official that the bottle neck was at the track. Although not a picnic, the track at Talladega has a similar traffic pattern of a less than ideal highway and 2 interchanges. The difference is that they have large multiple entrances. Kentucky had one and even it was half the capacity of Talladega's. BTW that second interchange is only 2 miles from the one Brutom always mentions. And again google map that interchange and compare it to Talladega, they match.

There is no reason for the state of Kentucky to spend on dollar to make Bruton happy. His options are to go back to a track he can't sell out or move to a track that would have people sitting in near 100 degree heat for hours on end. Neither is a great bargining position.

Funny how Bruton says he

Funny how Bruton says he would have a problem if his people talked bad about other tracks and then he himself proceeds to do just that. He won't have to worry about parking issues next year I can tell you that. After this past weekend and his attitude about everything by placing the blame on everyone else except himself, people won't bother going.

And where the heck did he get 150,000? Tracks capacity is 107-110,000 which was stated all week. Talk about inflating numbers. This guy is a piece of work and a major reason this sport is in a freefall.

Sorry Bruton Smith

Bruton smith has taken away two races from NC and now he wants to move another from charlotte.

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