The track at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta is known as the roughest in NASCAR racing.
The 1.5 mile track features 14 degree banking in the turns. “We conduct the best racing in the world here,” said Mike Simendinger, general manager.
The venue attracts huge crowds to this small town off Interstate 71 in north-central Kentucky. NASCAR fans like to tailgate and camp all weekend, Simendinger said.
“We’ve got people who will pull in multimillion-dollar RVs to these premium spots right behind me, and we’ve got people that will just pitch a tent in the back and bring a six-pack of beer. … I’ve got everyone in between.”
With a seating capacity of 107,000, Kentucky Speedway is the fifth-largest in the nation in terms of spectator capacity. “That doesn’t count all the campers that we’ll have,” he said. “…You start adding all those folks in, and we’re approaching 120,000.”
Simendinger reminds fans to bring ear protection. “You just got to make sure – no matter who it is – really, you need some ear protection,” he said. “Once you have that, kids love it. And you know why they love it? Because there’s action. And that’s what we’ve got in spades. And so they are fascinated by what happens on the racetrack.”
Since 2011, one of the highlights of the year is the annual Quaker State 400 in July.
Stock car racing, according to Simendinger, is an intense sensory experience for the eyes and ears. “Obviously you feel 700 horsepower times 43 (starters),” he said. “… It’s an adrenaline rush unlike anything else you’re going to get.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2106, which originally aired on February 6, 2016. Watch the full episode.