He got his start at the horse track.. But wound up with a career at the race track.. Bringing in the big names and big time races. Mark Simendinger is the general manager at the Kentucky Speedway one of the brains behind the raceway's explosion in popularity...This is another side of Mark Simendinger.
Tricia Macke: Tell me about what you do at the Kentucky Speedway Mark Simendinger: I kind of come up with the game plan and make sure everyone is in the right spot in order to execute the plan. You know when we hold a race event a race event is not a whole lot different than throwing a party at your house, it's we just do it for about 85,000 people or something and so there are a lot of details that go into that and sometimes things don't go right and you have to decide what to do and that's kind of what we do. Tricia Macke: It's amazing to me when you go pass the speedway how big that thing is. It is really huge Mark Simendinger: It is really big and our race weekend is really diverse. I've often said, what we do, we don't have 81 dates. The date that we have, the weekend that we have is really diverse we got a whole lot of different parts to it. Tricia Macke: Did you ever think it would be this big? I mean you pack that place. Mark Simendinger: No. You know we really didn't. When Jerry Carrol and I were talking about this years ago back when we were at Turfway Park, we were asking people you know what should we do, we are trying to get more utilization out of this facility.
Someone mentioned this whole motorsports thing and we ended up selling Turfway and we thought we had built a heck of a speedway it's kind of like when you build your house and sell your house well the next guy who buys it has a whole different vision.
Bruton Smith looked at it and I still remember the phone call I got from jerry and he's like "What's going on today? And I said "Jerry I thought we sold a great racetrack but Bruton Smith has thought of is beyond my comprehension." Bruton took it to a whole new level. Tricia Macke: To somebody who has never been to the racetrack, maybe they aren't a race fan, myself, I've never been to a race. I've interviewed a lot of drivers, been to the place, but how do you get them there? Mark Simendinger: When the racing starts, it's different than anything else you've ever been to.
So the way I can get you there is I say Tricia "you've never seen anything like it and I'm not just making that up." Right?
It's not like you're gonna go next door, if you don't go to our place you don't see what it's like to have 43 cars going 700 horse power going past you at one time. What keeps people coming back is it's extremely sensory. It gets your adrenaline pumping.
Tricia Macke: So who are you away from all of this stuff? You're a grandpa, right? Mark Simendinger: Yeah, I'm a grandpa. I got two grandkids right now, a three year old named Oscar and my 6-week-old granddaughter Jade but then I got a grandson on the way too. I got five kids. Tricia Macke: And how old are your kids? Mark Simendinger: My oldest is thirty-one and she lives over in Oakley and my youngest is sixteen and she is at Notre Dame Academy. Tricia Macke: What's coming up next at the race track? Mark Simendinger: Our triple-header weekend which is July 9th, 10th and 11th. NASCAR's Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series. The Quaker State 400 is obviously the big highlight event on Saturday night and immediately following that it leads into All-Star Weekend for baseball. So we go All-Star motor racing into All-Star baseball which makes Cincinnati, well you know it doesn't get any better for sports fans.