Super Bowl Veteran Helping Improve Traffic Flow
Marc Koretzky, a logistics and transportation expert who has helped organize five Super Bowls, is working with Charlotte Motor Speedway to ensure fans enjoy their experience during the track's Oct. 11-14 Bank of America 500 Week races.
Koretzky, a 30-year-old native of New Orleans, has been assisting track officials since early August as they develop and implement new procedures to improve traffic flow during the speedway's major events.
"As NASCAR keeps growing, if you're inside the circle, you only see it from an inside perspective," Koretzky explained. "What I am able to do is bring a different perspective and ideas on how we can look at doing it other ways."
As director of operations for Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Koretzky worked alongside veteran race team owner Roger Penske who chaired Detroit's Super Bowl organizing committee. Penske recommended Koretzky to H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"I told Roger Penske I wanted to start working additional venues, but I also wanted to get more experience on the operational side of the venues," Koretzky said. "Mr. Penske was gracious enough to give my information to Mr. Wheeler."
Koretzky has been working closely with Doug Cremer, the speedway's director of guest services and logistics, and his staff. They have developed a strategic plan that includes reorganizing the track's parking lots along with revising traffic patterns in and around the speedway. They have also been working with Charlotte Area Transit System officials to develop a shuttle bus system.
Changing how the track's parking lots are identified and coordinating them with grandstand seating areas are part of the new plan.
"If your tickets are on the frontstretch, we are going to have a designated route to get you to the lots closest to your seats," Koretzky explained. "It is going to be easier for fans to get in and out because, based on where their seats are located, we are going to give them a suggested route to follow."
Implementing a regional shuttle bus system that will transport fans to and from the speedway's NASCAR events is another major element of the new logistics plan.
"A shuttle bus system eliminates the stress of driving to the race," Koretzky said. "It allows fans to come here, have a good time and not worry about driving back."
The preliminary plan for the Bank of America 500 calls for shuttle buses to operate from Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, N.C. Koretzky estimates 800 fans will utilize the service, but he envisions it expanding to other areas for future races.
"You've got to build a system like this slowly because you need to get feedback from those who ride the buses," said Koretzky. "It is very important for us as we start implementing these programs to have the fans tell us what they like, and what they don't like.
"The plan is to eventually have regional shuttle bus locations, perhaps a half dozen of them," Koretzky continued. "So when you look down the road several years, we could have 20,000 people taking the system. If we can start getting people to use public transportation now, and they have a positive experience, we can rely on it more and more in the future."
Koretzky said Charlotte Motor Speedway averages about 2.5 people per car for each major race. If 20,000 people are eventually using the shuttle buses, the result would be about 10,000 fewer cars attempting to get in and out of the track.
"We park about 55,000 vehicles, so if we take 20 percent off of that, it's going to make a tremendous difference," he said.
While it appears his Super Bowl experience is paying dividends for the speedway, Koretzky is the first to point out he's just one member of a team effort.
"I'm just here to help," he said. "Doug (Cremer) and the whole team are the people making all these things happen; I'm just pointing them in the right direction.
"All of this doesn't happen over night, it's a progression. But at the end of the day, if people have a positive and pleasant experience at the track, it's a win for all parties," Koretzky concluded.
Tickets for all October races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the Bank of America 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event, are still available and can purchased online or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.