Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kansas track a NASCAR success story

Off Thursday morning from the radio show on Sirius NASCAR Radio because I am doing the Delta shuffle through Atlanta to get to Kansas City for this week's race.
I always look forward to getting to Kansas each year because I can't wait to see how many more things they've built around the race track there.
When we first started going to the speedway over in Wyandotte County, Kansas, there were a couple of big stores within sight of the track and that was pretty much it. Now there's stuff everywhere out that way and more -- much more -- is coming.
Within the next couple of years a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will go up just outside Turn 2. International Speedway Corp. is building it in conjunction with a major developer, and I think it's interesting to see ISC get into the casino business. Guess that means there won't be any big anti-gambling policy for NASCAR drivers and officials coming any time soon.
The upshot of that project from the racing standpoint is that Kansas, by 2010, will ask for and undoubtedly get a second date from another ISC track. I don't know which track they'll take a race from, and any speculation you've seen so far is just that -- speculation. A lot of things could shake out in racing over the next two years.
The ecomony is not exactly purring like Greg Biffle's engine these days, but for all of the people who keep talking about the gloom and doom in NASCAR's world all I need to do is look at what has happened and continues to happen in Kansas. If ISC and its partners feel confident enough to tackle a project as big as this Hard Rock Hotel deal. they must feel that racing at least has some future in the nation's heartland.


Anonymous said...

Kansas Speedway has the best fan amenities hands down. It is a REALLY nice facility, all new steel and concrete, not like walking under the stands at Daytona and getting beerwater dripped on you from two stories up. But it ends there. The racing stinks. It does not deserve a second date.

Lloyd said...

If David's prediction is correct lets hope ISC doesn't take away a date from another good ole short track!

Monkeesfan said...

lloyd, the Winston Cup level of the sport outgrew short tracks as soon as RJR took up sponsorship of the series. If ISC takes a date away from a track for Kansas, make it Richmond or Martinsville, or better yet Bristol.

Monkeesfan said...

What the success of Kansas Speedway illustrates is the reality of racing demographics - Kansas is a racing demographic, so success there is to be expected. It is a lesson NASCAR needs to understand with regard to existing tracks at Fontana and Chicago and the pipe dream that is New York City and Seattle.

Lloyd said...

The size of the track in Kansas City has nothing to do with why that track is a success. I happen to live in Iowa just a short 3 hour trip from the Kansas track. Had ISC built the same 7/8 mile short track that resides in Newton, Iowa instead of the 1.5 mile track it would have ended up with the same success and arguably better TV ratings as it would produce better racing.

Anonymous said...

1400 families were forced from their homes by Kansas' eminent domain law to give the property to a private corporation, ISC, for the speedway. No doubt it has been good for the area, however Kansas eminent domain law says property aquired by eminent domain cannot be used for casinos. ISC has a lot of influence don't they, they managed to pull this casino bid off even though it violates state law.

Monkeesfan said...

lloyd, the size of the track at Kansas certainly is not the only reason for its success. But the idea that Kansas would sell out as a 7/8 miler or get better ratings is not based on realworld evidence, where ratings and attendance for short track races are never better than for bigger tracks.

Short track racing is not better racing, period. The sport outgrew short tracks when RJR took up series sponsorship. I find it amazing there are still short tracks left becuase they don't belong at this level of racing.

Unknown said...

When we first started going to the speedway over in Wyandotte County, Kansas, there were a couple of big stores within sight of the track and that was pretty much it. Now there's stuff everywhere out that way and more -- much more -- is coming.

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