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Monday, July 11, 2011

Traffic troubles for gearheads?...Johnson OK for Summer Showcase?


-Kentucky NASCAR event causes major Interstate snafu

-Johnson's ankle could slow TEAM CONCEPT in Chicago.

-Questions we've been getting...

Everyone else is chipping in their two cents worth about it and it's a real slow sports
let's talk about the gridlock that surrounded Kentucky's big NASCAR event Saturday, the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in megaplex city Sparta, KY.

In the words of Ricky Bobby...I wanna go fast!
What do you expect when you try to cram 100,000 people on 1-71, trying to get off at the Sparta/Warsaw exit? This isn't RING ROAD, the much maligned circle around the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center...where 5 hour 15 minute delays trying to leave from two or three exits used to be common in the days of Louisville basketball at Freedom Hall. It isn't the jam-up on I-64 25 minutes before a Louisville game at the KFC YUM Center. It isn't even the gridlock on Woodlawn Avenue outside of the Churchill Downs parking lot during Derby week. 

What was it? 100,000 people who should have known better.

Did anybody really think they could roll up on open parking an hour before the race and leisurely stroll to their seats? Did anybody think that traffic would actually run smoothly at
a first time ever event? Or that Kentucky State Police would be efficient and handle things correctly? If you did, shame on you. You fail.

The event organizers would have been well served to maybe chat with the folks in Indianapolis..who handle a lot more cars a lot more successfully at the Indy 500. Maybe a few texts to the planners who get 100,000 plus out of Ohio State football games. And, maybe they did. They probably looked at all kinds of ways to handle traffic. None seemed to work, though.
Motorist wait to arrive at full parking lots
Or, maybe the attendees could have planned to just make a day out of it and arrive 8 hours early...grill out, throw a little bean bag and pitch a tent. Heck, they even could have called Lexington and talked to the Commonwealth Stadium advisers who seem to handle 60,000-70,000 patrons successfully 6-7 times each fall for Wildcat football. I'm not suggesting that they consult the folks who organize traffic patterns at UofL football games. They still haven't figured that one out...going on 14 years. Even in the final Kragthorpe years, it was still a mess.

Once bitten, twice shy. They probably won't have the mess next year that they did this year.
People will arrive earlier, a shuttle system will probably be effected and additional parking will be secured. The attendees may actually even listen next time to the warnings well a week in advance that things were going to be crowded. Don't look for any major changes on I-71 or the exit ramps. Not for a once a year event.

Shawn Wilson of Louisville had the right idea.

"We got church in on Saturday night, then got up early Sunday morning and were on the road by 7:30 a.m. We got there in plenty of time, set up the chairs, the gazebo and grill and we had a great afternoon. The ones I feel for are the motorists that were travelling I-71 like on a vacation or something and got caught in the mess with no intention of attending the race. "

All that to see a bunch of cars turning left at speeds well over 100 m.p.h. As my buddy Bob has told me..."Some people get NASCAR, some don't."

I guess I'm in the "don't" category. 5 hours to go 5 miles. Sounds like the Cards offense in the Kragthorpe years...


Power forward Kailee Johnson of Portland, Oregon - ranked #5 in the 2013 class by ESPN HoopGurlz - suffered a right-ankle sprain during one of Team Concept's opening day victories at the End of the Trail Tournament. 

Johnson's ankle
a question mark this week?
"It didn't seem like a big thing at the time," Team Concept coach Michael Abraham said. "But it's pretty swollen now." 

The injury caused changes in the team's rotation, according to Abraham:

"It really hurt us. She and Mercedes (Russell) were really playing well off each other. Now, teams can double team Mercedes and we don't have a weak side rebounder."

Despite a hobbled Johnson, Team Concept won the tournament. It'll be much tougher this week for the Oregon team in the NIKE Summer Showcase if Johnson can't go at full strength.  Well over 250 college coaches are expected to attend the Summer Showcase event.

We appreciate the e-mails received here at CARDINAL COUPLE. A lot of you ask us questions and we try to reply with timely and accurate e-mail answers to you. A lot of your questions concern UofL women's basketball. Here are some recent ones:

How did Cierra Warren's surgery go?

She is up and walking around without any limp. Did a little bit of practice during June. Is expected to accompany the team to Canada in August. She is optimistic and positive about the knee procedure and should be a major force inside for UofL this upcoming season.

Is it true that Charmaine Tay won't go to Canada with the team?

It has been reported that Charmaine will be attending classes on campus in August and last we've heard has her doing this instead of making the trip. All things subject to change, we realize...but - so far - that is all we know.

What is the current women's roster?

Asia Taylor is returning for her junior year.
She is Sonja's favorite player.
As of last report, 14 Lady Cards on board. They are...Becky Burke, Monique Reid, Asia Taylor, Tia Gibbs, Shelby Harper, Cierra Warren, Shoni Schimmel, Antonita Slaughter, Shawnta Dyer, Sherrone Vails, Charmaine Tay, Sara Hammond, Jude Schimmel and Bria Smith. 

Who will start for UofL this upcoming season?

We have no idea. One would assume Shoni, Mo and Asia would return to the starting lineup from last year...but we've seen nothing to indicate or presume that Coach Walz and his staff have made a starting lineup determination as of yet. Besides, it isn't so much about who starts as it is about who is in there in "crunch time".    

When will the full schedule be released for UofL women's basketball?

Normally its early September and its not just to do with the BIG EAST.  Many of the BE teams play in pro arenas, therefore you don't just wait on the league office but also for the NBA, NHL to also get their ducks in a row (basically, it's a lot of hands).  Usually, its  been between Sept 5-11 for the entire schedule release. (however, schools already have their non-conference slates - but some release and others do not.)

How will the Lady Cards do in the BIG EAST?

Pure speculation here...but we see a top 4 finish for them in regular season play. UConn loses Maya Moore but is loaded again, Notre Dame comes back strong and Rutgers returns significant talent and brings in a strong recruiting class. Louisville fits in here somewhere. Syracuse, St. John's, Georgetown and DePaul all have the talent and ability to unseat any the four mentioned, though. In's going to be another war in the best conference in college women's basketball. As the season gets closer, we'll break the BIG EAST teams down and offer a preseason prediction. We may need a crystal ball and psychic advisor....

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