Racing in style

New private road course club
to be built near Kentucky Speedway

The exclusive club will offer
a 3.38-mile course to push it to the limit

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(August 2007) – You might be the owner of sleek and expensive high-powered sports car that can get up to speeds of 150 mph. Try that on a public highway, however, and you may end up spending some not-so-pleasant time in a facility with bars on the doors and no windows.

Brad Poppell Driving

Photo Provided

The northern Kentucky club will
allow members a place to drive
high-end cars fast without
having to face the consequences
of breaking the speed limit.

Cincinnati’s Brad Poppell has solved that problem. A new and exclusive facility, Bluegrass Motorsports Club & Road Course, when built in northern Kentucky will offer members a unique 3.38-mile road course to push their Corvettes, BMWs or Porsches to their speed limits, all within the limits of the law.
“The club will appeal to the person who buys a high-end sports car and realizes that driving it in anything past fourth gear is probably going to land them in jail,” said Poppell, the founder and president of the club. He is the owner of a BMW M3, and he is looking forward to getting out on the track as soon as it is ready.
The new club is situated on more than 500 rolling acres in Gallatin County and is positioned between Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati. The location, just 28-miles from downtown Cincinnati, allows access to six major cities with airports, all within an hour’s drive or less.
The track is ideally located just nine miles from the Kentucky Speedway, which attracts thousands of race fans across the region for events.
“We certainly see our motorsports club as a complement to the Kentucky Speedway,” said Poppell.
The $10 million Phase I of the project is scheduled to begin groundbreaking Oct. 15. The scheduled opening of the estimated $16 million motorsports club will be at some point during the summer of 2008. It will include a clubhouse, go-cart track for kids and adults, and other amenities.
The idea for the club came to Poppell while he was at the Mid-Ohio Race Course in Lexington, Ohio. “I was listening to friends talk about how long of a drive it was to reach the race track when suddenly a light bulb lit up in my head,” he said.
While there are no private motorsports clubs in this area, they are beginning to spring up across the country. Indianapolis architect Paxton Waters, the top independent designer of race tracks across the country, said there are four such tracks in existence currently, with another six on the drawing board. “This type of sports club has become extremely popular,” he said.

Brad Poppell

Brad Poppell

Waters, who worked with NASCAR’s Rusty Wallace on the recently opened Iowa Speedway and is working with Wallace on two other projects, has designed the new Kentucky course to include its rolling hills and bountiful trees. “It will be a unique course for a number of reasons, but its hilltop location and natural landscaping will certainly set it apart from the rest of the tracks,” he said.
Waters has also worked with Indy Racing League Team Owner Roger Penske on projects and designed courses at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and the California Speedway.
The outer course will have a 3,000-foot straightway with a 2,500-foot back straightway and a variety of curves and turns for an exciting driving experience. There will be several configurations to choose from with a variety of grade changes and turns.
Of course, safety will play a major role at the Bluegrass Motorsports Club. Waters has designed the course to accommodate high speeds but yet make it safe for beginners or club rentals.
“We have designed the course, which has an outer track and combination inner tracks, to accommodate a variety of different levels of drivers,” he said.
Poppell said drivers will have to go through an orientation and pass a certification before they are allowed to go fast. A safety marshal, stewards and corner workers will be on duty during track activity and emergency and rescue crews will be available at all times. There will also be daily track maintenance, periodic tech inspections, a state-of-the-art control tower and adequate run off areas.
Poppell said designers have worked out a system in which part of the track can be rented out for specific clubs or corporations. He said clubs such as the American Motorcycle Association or the Porsche Club will be able to rent the course for their members.
Membership in the exclusive club, however, is going to be pricey. The more members pay, the more track time they will receive. “We will limit our membership to just a few hundred people at first,” said Poppell.
At this point, Poppell said interest is running high in the new club, with more than 25-30 emails a day asking questions and more than 130,000 hits a month on the website.

• For more information about Bluegrass Motorsports Club & Road Course, visit: www.drivebluegrass.com.

Back to August 2007 Articles.



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