Friday, December 21, 2001

Louisville Speedway to be demolished

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Kentucky Speedway is making plans for another year of auto racing, but track chairman and co-owner Jerry Carroll said the other track he owns, Louisville Speedway, has held its last race.

        Mr. Carroll's development company, Carroll Properties, Inc., will demolish the old half-mile race track off Outer Loop Road in Louisville beginning in February and develop it into an industrial park with several large buildings totaling about 1.3 mil lion square feet of space under roof.

        Mark Simendinger, president of Carroll Properties and Kentucky Speedway, said Thursdaythat Louisville Motor Speedway, built in the 1950s, was no longer a money-making business and the property where it was built near the UPS terminal was prime industrial land.

        “It reached the point where the value of the track property reached the level where we couldn't afford to operate it as a race track,” he said.

        Mr. Carroll and his partners bought Louisville Motor Speedway in 1998 as the initial construction began on Kentucky Speedway.

        The idea was to show NASCAR that the group was serious about auto racing, and also enabled them to move the NASCAR truck race from Louisville to Kentucky Speedway.

        Although no tenants have been identified, Mr. Simendinger said the development plan calls for two buildings of 500,000 square feet each, another building of 250,000 square feet, and a smaller structure of about 75,000 square feet.

        The company that owns the property, Louisville Motor Speedway Associates, LLC, which includes Mr. Carroll and his partners in Kentucky Speedway, is giving 21 acres to the Louisville-Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District as permanent designated wet lands.

        Doris Delahanty, a Jefferson-Louisville metro government commissioner, said Thursday that it was difficult to determine what impact an industrial park would have at that location.

        “That area of Outer Loop has always been commercial, and removing the speedway and building an industrial park won't change the character of the area,” she said. “We'll have to see who moves into the park when it's completed.”

        Kentucky Speedway officials are still hoping for news from NASCAR during the coming year that a Winston Cup race will be part of the speedway's schedule in 2003.

        “Right now, we don't know what's going on with the Winston Cup schedule in the next couple of years, but we still think we have a good chance at getting a race,” Mr. Carroll said.

        He emphasized that, regardless of the Winston Cup outlook, Kentucky Speedway has a strong schedule for 2002, including:

        • May 11 -- ARCA RE/MAX WLWT Channel 5 155 stock car race.

        • June 15 -- the Kentucky 300 NASCAR Busch Series race.

        • July 13 -- the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 225 race.

        • Aug. 11 -- the Belterra Casino 300 Indy Racing League race.

        A major addition for speedway-goers in 2002 is a new interchange off I-71 two miles south of the Kentucky 35 exit, part of an $80 million state road improvement project that includes a new road from U.S. 42 to I-71.

        The new exit will tie into a new entrance road to the speedway property, giving race fans the choice of two entrances and exits, which should reduce the length of time they will sit in traffic jams arriving or leaving. Previously, all cars were funneled into the speedway off Kentucky 35, whether they came off I-71 or from U.S. 42.

        New preferred parking lots have been added for season ticket holders, and 10 new terrace boxes have been added to the main concourse. All 10 additional boxes, which seat 16 each, are already sold out for the 2002 season.

        The speedway also will be the scene of an RV and boat show June 6-9, and a WARPED Tour 2002 rock concert on July 30.


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- Louisville Speedway to be demolished