On your mark, get set, prepare. That's the motto many residents of Sparta, Ky are taking to get ready for this week's festivities.
As NASCAR officials continue to prep for this week's events, the locals are also doing their part to welcome thousands of people to their town. "It's gotten bigger since the whole debacle the first year and every year it seems to get bigger," said Joseph Morgan who works in Sparta. That debacle refers to a parking issue during the track's first year hosting the Quaker State 400 that left thousands of cars backed up on I-71."People were parked all over everywhere," said Frank Lester. "I worked on top of the hill when that happened and it was difficult to get to work that year but now you can go straight through, you can get to where you need to go," said Delina Lester.
Since then, officials have fixed the parking problem, and locals say this week alone makes up for a slow year. "Maybe ten times the normal business, might even be more. Pays most of the bills for the year," said Morgan.
Joseph Morgan is from Sparta and works at the BP right across the street from the track. He says it's all hands on deck throughout the week and management even brings in former employees to help out. "Some of them places down in Sparta they struggle a little bit at times and this really makes up for most of their loss in business in a year," said Morgan. Three years ago, the track expanded from 66,000 seats to nearly 110,000. Frank Lester owns a shop in the heart of downtown Sparta and says, the added foot traffic is important for businesses. "We're hoping that things get a lot better here for our store and for the city too which it has been improving the last couple years," said Frank Lester. "It looks like they've made a lot of improvements in the last two years and I see this place really booming in the next few years," said Robert Hunter. A city council member from Sparta says that the Kentucky Speedway is pretty self-sufficient with this event. They don't see a whole lot of the impact as a city. But in years ahead they hope they can become more involved.
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