Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman and founder Bruton Smith held court with the media on Friday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to discuss last week's Kentucky Speedway traffic debacle.
Below are some selected comments from Smith.
On Interstate 71:
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. And I was hoping that would get some attention. That's what we were dealing with. I think when we go back there, I think you'll find maybe somebody will have done something about it.
On his company, Speedway Motorsports Inc.:
We have a history of doing things better than anybody else, and we will continue to fix it. We know how to fix things, we know how to build things. I think we are guilty of building the finest speedways in this country.
We have a $3 billion investment in this sport. I'm all about promoting this sport. I do it all the time. It's very important to my company because this is what I do and this is what I like doing. Since I purchased that place, we've spent over $100 million. We've done a lot of things over there, and we'll do a lot more things.
On the people who parked the cars:
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.
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.
On whether the track sold more tickets than there were available parking spaces:
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.
On why Speedway Motorsports Inc. won't refund tickets:
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.
On why there wasn't better planning:
I don't think anybody could foresee what occurred. Maybe God knew, but I don't know of anybody else knew how many people would try to come see this event.
On who is responsible for the blame:
It was not all us. We don't control the highways. I wish we could sit here and tell you we do, but we don't control the highways.
On how many people were at the race:
If I were to guess, I've heard 150,000 people. I have no way of telling you there were 150,000 people there. I don't know. And we'll never know. ... We do know it was a very large crowd. I don't know what it was, I really don't. We stopped scanning, so we lost count on that.
On criticism from other tracks, including MIchigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis:
I don't know who in the heck he is, but I don't care to know. It would be like if one of my people responded to Daytona in a nasty way when the track broke up (in the Daytona 500) and they had to stop the race for two hours. That is not what we're about.
It reminded me of something. I was born and raised on a farm. And we had a jackass that got away from us. He was young and frisky. I remember my dad saying, 'That's the sorriest jackass we've ever had.' But he got away and we never did recover him, but I understand he's popped up now in Michigan somewhere.
On whether he's being a hypocrite (since he criticizes other tracks at times):
I'm not saying it's different. I'm not upset by it. I'm just saying it's stupid. And you can't fix stupid! Right?
I'm for NASCAR all the way. I want to build this sport. I was watching something that was referred to as "dancing partners" in Daytona. If you want to be critical of something, I'm critical of that race. Did you see that race? Took two cars to win a race? Well, if you've got dancing partners, then we've got a different race.
To me, it's life if Major League Baseball changed the rules to where you've got to have two bats when you go up to bat. That don't make any sense. So I'm asking NASCAR, 'Let's go to work on this car and let's stop the foolishness of this car pushing another one.' That's not what we built this sport on. That is not good.
Let's see who fixes what first. I am absolutely dedicated to fixing the problems at Kentucky before the dancing partners thing can be cured.