Kentucky Speedway garners unlikely award

May, 10, 2012

Kentucky Speedway's inaugural Sprint Cup race was named the 2011 Sports Event of the Year by the Cincinnati Sports Professional Network.

I kid you not. What was the runner-up, the Apocalypse?

Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger will accept the award during a June 6 ceremony at the Sharonville (Ohio) Convention Center.

That's fine, just make sure the award is a scaled down aerial view in gold of the miles and miles of gridlocked cars on I-71 unable to get to the event.

"Bringing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to greater Cincinnati has been a dream come true for our entire staff," Simendinger stated in a news release Wednesday. "We thank CSPN for recognizing our Quaker State 400 as the top sports event in a town with many of them."

Wow, the Reds and the Bengals must wonder what they need to do to have a big event. Burn down the stadiums? Have fans battle lions to the death in gladiator games?

The Cup race at Kentucky last July was a failure at almost every level, including a race that wasn't exactly edge-of-your-seat drama.

Speedway officials were not prepared for the massive traffic jam (the worst I've ever seen, and I was at there for the hellish first Texas Motor Speedway race). Officials couldn't get thousands of ticket holders into the facility, and that doesn't include the ones who turned around and went home.

I don't really know what the CSPN is, but the group must give out awards for famine and pestilence. Seriously, the organization has made itself look ridiculous on this one.

Honestly, I don't want to rag on Kentucky Speedway. Officials realized it was a disaster and speedway owner Bruton Smith has spent millions of dollars and taken numerous steps to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again.

But let's keep it real here, folks. If this was the sports event of the year, I have a few other awards to give out:

Coach of the Year: Sean Payton.

Humanitarian Award: Metta World Peace.

Sportsmanship Award: (a tie) Kyle and Kurt Busch

Friendliest Fans: Vancouver residents after Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

Lifetime Commitment Award: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

Motorcycle Rider of the Year: Bobby Petrino

Mr. Popular of Miami: Ozzie Guillen

Nice Guy Award: Ndamukong Suh

Crime Fighting Award: Ryan Leaf

So enjoy, all are just as deserving of recognition as the 2011 Cup race at Kentucky.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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