Times Staff Report
August 28, 2013
SPARTA - Two Oldham Co., Ky. police officers and Lexington, Ky., Police Chief Ron Bastin raced to the top of the Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) speed charts and collected Kentucky Speedway Top Cop Challenge team and individual titles.
The speedway created the friendly competition to thank regional law enforcement for efforts toward making the venue’s race events successful in addition to officers’ year-round public safety initiatives.
Sixteen officers representing the City of Cincinnati, Butler Co., Ohio, Hamilton Co., Ohio, City of Florence, Ky., City of Lexington, Ky., Gallatin Co., Ky., Oldham Co. Ky., and the Kentucky State Police drove RPDE cars for six laps. Two-officer teams that generated the fastest cumulative time determined the three highest-ranking eligible to race for individual Top Cop honors.
Chief Bastin will be the speedway’s Sept. 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 honorary starter after locking down the Top Cop award with a 6:29.63 that was quickest among the three highest-ranking officers from the fastest teams. The chief also earns race tickets to donate to charity.
“I found the lanes to go through a little bit better the second time, just kept my toe in the carburetor and let it go. I hope all my officers aren’t watching this and thinking they can drive this fast on the street in a patrol car. That won’t work.
“It’s quite an honor to be the honorary starter for the race. I wanted to go out do something for the folks back home in Georgetown, our neighbors, who work at the Toyota plant. I’ll be out here with them on the 21st,” Chief Bastin said.
Oldham Co., Ky., Chief Greg Smith and Officer Sarah King captured the team title with a 9:06.82 and also earned event tickets to donate.
“It took me a couple rounds to get the feel of the car. On the fourth lap, I felt like I could turn on the speed a little bit. It’s a lot tougher than you think. It’s was lot of fun and there was a lot of camaraderie,” Chief Smith said.
Officer King was fastest among the 16 contestants by more than nine seconds with a 4:16.84. The competition was the first time she’d attempted to drive a stock car.
“Honestly, I was determined we were going to wintoday. I told chief we were going to go out there, kick some butt and take some tickets home to our community. That was my goal.
“It was control and a little bit of confidence. You have to want to go for it. We did and that’s why we came home with the victory. I won’t lie, it feels pretty good,” Officer King said.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 will conclude a doubleheader speedway weekend that begins with the ARCA Racing Series Zloop 150 Sept. 20.
Tickets, daily Fan Zone passes, Coca-Cola® Family Four Packs, and campsites for two-race September affair can purchased through the tickets pages of this Web site, by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the speedway ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41086 just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 North. Ticket office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.