There are a number of key metrics by which you can measure the health of a given market or industry; in auto racing, that’s often spectator and participant count and trends, sponsorship or lack thereof, and television ratings. But another, perhaps less measurable but nevertheless telling metric on a more grassroots level is racetrack viability — not just profitability, but a track owner-operator’s willingness to invest in his or her facility as a response to the above factors: how many people are coming in and out of the gate and is it trending up or down.
Lest we forget that, for the vast majority of us, racing is a pastime that runs on disposable income, and whether it’s profitable or not doesn’t necessarily dictate our decision to invest in our program. But a racetrack — whether a super-track or a local mom ‘n pop operation, is a business, and if it’s not seeing what it wants to see in the metrics, it’s unlikely to invest. Despite what you may have heard, what we’re witnessing right now is a definitive uptick in track upgrades and new facilities around the country: it’s bucking the trend, but the numbers don’t lie. This week, a mid-west motorsports group announced its intentions to rebuild a pair of forgotten raceways — simply because the market supports doing so — adding to the growing list of reborn and revitalized drag strips.
Official I-70 Motorsports Park Press Release
I-70 Speedway and Kansas City International Raceway “KCIR” were originally built by the same group in the late 1960s to serve the Kansas City market. Both facilities closed within the past 10 years and will now get a fresh start with the help of multiple companies, including the same corporation that revamped Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas, and National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio. Both tracks will be that originally housed I-70 speedway. The facility will be named I-70 Motorsports Park and home to both race tracks.
I’m super excited to be involved with rebuilding two historical race tracks which have been a part of the local communities for decades. – Chris Payne
A quarter-mile dragstrip will be built on the Odessa property, along with a half-mile clay dirt oval. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) will sanction the dragstrip and while the dirt track will hold special feature Sprint Car action from several different sanctioning bodies.
Events at the dragstrip will include a weekly test & tune series for anyone who wants to bring their daily-driver, hot rod, muscle car, or purpose-built race car out to the track. The track will also host a weekly bracket racing series as well as feature events to include an import races and car shows.
The dirt oval track will host monthly racing events throughout the season and will be built in a way that fans will be able to enjoy separate events there such a music concerts, festivals, and other facility rental functions.
Leading the project is Kansas City businessman and entertainment property owner, Chris Payne. “I’m super excited to be involved with rebuilding two historical race tracks which have been a part of the local communities for decades. Like, most successful projects it takes a group of devoted people and companies, including the support of the local governments, to completed the project. Our hopes are I-70 Motorsports Park becomes a staple in the community for all to enjoy for generations to come”
After the appropriate approvals and permits are received, construction will immediately take place at the property with earth moving equipment clearing an area for the dragstrip to be laid, and the oval track will have fresh clay delivered to complete its racing surface. Both facilities will have general admission seating as well as corporate hospitality areas and VIP tower suites for lease throughout each season.
Race fans can follow all of the progress at i70motorsportspark.com.