Kentucky Speedway has removed 20,000 grandstand seats, according to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. listed the track’s seating capacity as 107,000 in its 2016 annual report before the reduction.
“We just, honestly, had too many seats,” Mark Simendinger, Kentucky Speedway’s general manager, told the Herald-Leader. “Those seats were the least desirable ones we had. If I have the opportunity to take out seats that really weren’t the best and have those people sit in a better area, they are probably going to have a better experience … and I’ll probably have a better chance of having them come back.”
The seats removed are near the entry of Turn 1 and the exit of Turn 4. The seat map to purchase tickets at Kentucky Speedway shows what seats are no longer available.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. completed purchase of the track Dec. 31, 2008. The track had 66,000 seats at that time. The track’s seating capacity was expanded to 107,000 before its Cup debut in July 2011. That race was sold out but a massive traffic jam prevented thousands of fans from reaching the track and attending the event.
The Herald-Leader report stated that much of the work removing seats was done in January. Speedway Motorsports Inc., stated in a January call with investor analysts that it planned to “repurpose” seating areas at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway this year.
Charlotte has removed seats in Turn 4 and replaced those with a hospitality area that will have a 960-panel solar farm atop it. The deck will include food and beverage service, restroom facilities, picnic and high-top tables and a wide concourse with room for live music acts and other entertainment.
NASCAR’s Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races at Kentucky Speedway July 6-8.