Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2008

Track’s stands to go smoke-free

November 13, 2008

Preceding a possible Kansas City, Kan., smoking ban, the Kansas Speedway announced Monday a no-smoking policy in its grandstands and enclosed areas beginning in 2010.

Jeff Boerger, CEO of Kansas Speedway, said the adoption of the policy came after an internal discussion at the company and patrons’ messages requesting a ban.

“We received a lot of suggestions from fans,” about smoking in the stands, Boerger said.

The decision wasn’t influenced by the recent discussions of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., Board of Commissioners of a smoking ban, Boerger said.

“You’ll still be able to smoke, just not in your seat,” he said. “We just want to be sure we provide the best customer service. We believe it’s good for fans.”

In explaining the policy’s date, Boerger said in a statement that “our 2009 renewal process has ended and I wanted to make sure fans would be able to make renewal decisions based on this new policy, which is why it won’t be effective until 2010.”

Also, Boerger said, the no-smoking policy won’t affect the aim of Kansas Entertainment — a partnership of Kansas Speedway and the Cordish Company — to allow smoking in its Hard Rock Casino, including pressing for an exemption if a Kansas City, Kan., ban is enacted.

“It will put us at a disadvantage with other casinos in the area,” he said, and besides, the casino is being designed so that the nonsmoking areas of the casino will see as little smoke as possible from the smoking areas.

“We don’t want to turn away customers,” Boerger said.

Since the announcement of the new policy, the company has “received a few e-mails,” he said. “A couple of fans suggested that we don’t ban smoking in the whole facility.”

The parent corporation of Kansas Speedway, International Speedway Corporation, owns 11 other racetracks around the country, has similar policies at some of those, including the Chicago Speedway and the Phoenix International Speedway in Arizona. The Kansas Speedway decision came from its own management and not ISC, said spokesman Lenny Santiago.

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