Sunday, June 12, 2011
Lakeside Speedway prepares for flooding. Hopefully this report doesn't cover the last night of racing
Lakeside Speedway is a Kansas City institution. And next week, that institution will be silent. Kansas City, Kan., emergency management officials told the owner of the track to prepare for the worst, so the upcoming races have been cancelled to give the track a chance to move their equipment to higher ground.
I went to Lakeside Friday night. I wanted to post some candid images for you guys to look at on the blog here, and I wanted to take in another night of racing just in case something really bad ends up happening out there. Of course, true to Lakeside's run of luck, it rained halfway through the show, and they had to deal with that.
Lakeside is no stranger to flooding. When the Missouri spilled out of its banks in 1993, the track was completely submerged beyond the grandstands and up the two-story building. I went out there during the cleanup, and it was a real disaster. When looking at all that mud, damage, and debris everywhere, I never would have bet that they would be back.
Eventually that, plus the continued void in dirt track racing in the area that was left when the old track closed, prompted then general manager Olson to cover the asphalt surface with clay for the 2000 season, bringing dirt track racing back to Kansas City, Kan.
And the thing that most people don't understand about tracks like this is how central they are to the lives of so many people. This isn't a hobby or a whim to most of these people. There are guys that are racing cars that are worth more than my wife's, my parent's, and my cars all put together, hauling them around in trucks that are worth more than my house, all to run a race that pays out a few hundred bucks to win. They put everything into this. Their families are completely involved. It is, literally, everything to them.
keep an eye on Lakeside's Facebook page for updates, and when and if everything does get back to normal, you try attending some shows yourself. You may be surprised how involved you can get.
I sincerely hope that Lakeside survives the flood of 2011 with minimal damage. But the prognosis doesn't sound good. You don't hear about it much in the news, but it would be a real loss for Kansas City if this track went away. Even if you don't realize it, Lakeside is a significant part of Kansas City's history and culture.
Winners pictures at the end of this slideshow are courtesy of www.picturemeracing.com.