Kentucky Speedway loses NASCAR Cup Series race in 2021

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Kentucky Speedway LOW-RES

SPARTA, Ky. (WTVQ) – What had been rumored is rumor no more, Kentucky Speedway is losing its NASCAR Cup Series race in 2021.

“Of course, we’re disappointed the Bluegrass State is not on NASCAR’s schedule for 2021, as the past two decades have been filled with memorable moments that will last a lifetime,” said Mark Simendinger, executive vice president and general manager of Kentucky Speedway.

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Chicagoland Speedway is also being dropped from next season’s Cup Series schedule.

NASCAR is expected to officially announce its 2021 schedule on Wednesday.

After hosting successful lower-tier NASCAR events following its opening in 2000, Kentucky Speedway didn’t get its first Cup Series race until 2011.

The inaugural Cup race was a sellout, but the event turned into a public relations disaster for the track because of parking and traffic control issues.  Thousands of fans who had tickets never made it to the track to see the race due to a massive traffic back-up on I-71.  The track never sold-out another Cup Series race.

The current complaint among some NASCAR fans and even some drivers is there are too many cookie-cutter 1.5 mile oval tracks on the schedule.  Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway fall into that now unpopular category.

Some fans have been asking for more short tracks and road courses for the sport’s top-tier racing series.

Traffic Jam at Kentucky Speedway
Massive traffic jam marred inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway in 2011

 

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.