Officials don’t feel jammed by Kentucky traffic
HORSEPOWER VS. HORSES: Bruton Smith, head of the Kentucky Speedway’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports Inc., took direct aim at the commonwealth’s signature sporting event, the Kentucky Derby, prior to his track’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race last year.
“We will outdraw this horsey race you talk about,” Smith said in 2011, adding that the car race would be larger than any Kentucky Derby.
The Derby was coming off a record attendance in 2011 and set a new mark in 2012 with more than 165,000 fans attending. Smith didn’t back away from those comments Saturday, instead doubling down with a somewhat playful challenge.
“What I’d like for them to do is come forth and swear and give us a sworn statement that they had that many people,” the 85-year-old Smith said. “If they do that, then we’ll continue the argument.”
Smith doesn’t expect a sellout for Saturday’s race but did predict a crowd “in excess of 100,000.”
TOUGH ROAD: Points leader Matt Kenseth’s series-shaking revelation earlier this week that he is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season may have a profound impact on how he finishes out the year.
Earnhardt left the team his father founded in May 2007 to sign with Hendrick Motorsports.
“As tough as it is and as many unknowns as there are about a move like that, more often than not things work themselves out,” Earnhardt said. “Everybody kind of ends up in a better place.”
That doesn’t mean it will be easy.
“It will be a little tough with the transition just emotionally because he’s been in the same place for so long,” Earnhardt added. “But eventually it will lead to better days and he’ll find out that things are going to work out just fine.”
After spending his entire NASCAR career with Richard Childress Racing, Clint Bowyer jumped to Michael Waltrip’s team a year ago.
“For me, it was very hard to keep that momentum going,” Bowyer said. “Everybody was kind of wanting to give up on the season and get it over with.”