Track Facts111/42-mile paved oval14-degree banked turns10-degree banked straights70-feet-wide straights and turnsCamping allowed
It's big, it's bold, and it's brand-spanking new! Kentucky Speedway, located between Cincinnati and Louisville, Kentucky, raises the bar for all new speedways being built.
The 111/42-mile track started construction in 1998, and its first race took place this past June. Races for the 2000 season have included an IRL IndyCar event, two ARCA Supercar races, a NASCAR All-Pro race, and a popular NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
Probably best described as a cross between the Atlanta and Charlotte NASCAR facilities, the speedway is in an excellent location as some 2.1 million people live within 50 miles of the track, and an estimated 52 million people live within 300 miles of the track. The ultimate goal at Kentucky Speedway is, as with most new tracks, to host a Winston Cup race; hopes are high that this may happen soon. There are also hopes that a Busch Grand National race can be scheduled in the near future.
The track certainly is up to the standards NASCAR requires to host its top circuits. Bill Moss, one of the industry's best in designing and constructing speedways, was Kentucky Speedway's chief engineer. He came with sterling credentials, as he also was behind Talladega and Las Vegas Motor Speedways. The $152 million speedway is located in a beautiful rural setting and currently has 65,000 seats, including 50 luxury boxes and a 210-seat restaurant near the start/finish line. Phase II will expand that seating total to 150,000 with 120 luxury boxes on the 1,000-acre facility.
When entering the complex, 32 rows of grandstands, the track, the pits, the infield, and the garage areas are all below ground level. One of the more interesting aspects of the track is that there is no break in the outside wall all around the track. Race car haulers enter the track through a large tunnel to the infield.
Kentucky Speedway held its first two races under its state-of-the-art lighting system. In fact, the system is capable of illuminating an interstate highway from Louisville to Chicago, so drivers and fans alike will have no problems seeing the action at night.
With 14-degree banking on the turns and 10 degrees on the straightaways, the 70-foot-wide track should see its share of side-by-side action and high speeds.
Former IndyCar driver Danny Sullivan recently looked at the track and was impressed. "I wish that I was still racing because I would love to have driven on this one," Sullivan explains. He indicates that the track should be capable of 220-plus mph with an IndyCar and 185-190 mph in a Winston Cup car without a restrictor plate.
NASCAR Winston Cup legend Darrell Waltrip, who is originally from Kentucky and certainly knows a thing or two about racetracks, is the speedway's consultant and spokesperson.
"Kentucky Speedway really isn't a copy of any existing track. We took the best aspects from other NASCAR tracks that we liked and tried to incorporate all of them into this design. There are similarities to other tracks, but it's a one of a kind, that's for sure," Waltrip says.
Kentucky, as you may already know, is known for a different type of horsepower with its many horse farms and the Kentucky Derby, but Kentucky Speedway may change that thinking-at least a little!