Two iconic Kansas City-area motorsports meccas are poised to reopen in 2019.
The new I-70 Motorsports Park, located east of Odessa along the interstate, will feature an overhauled Kansas City International Raceway and retooled I-70 Speedway. Both were shuttered in the last decade or so.
Restoration of the tracks is being overseen by Kansas City businessman Chris Payne, who has marshaled the revamping of Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka. Payne’s company, Shelby Development, also acquired the National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017.
“I’m super excited to be involved with rebuilding two historical race tracks which have been a part of the local communities for decades,” Payne told i70motorsportspark.com.
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“I-70 Motorsports Park was kind of a natural next step in what he (Payne) sees as a great opportunity to have a facility directly serving the Kansas City market, as well as the Midwest,” said Ryan Haas, managing partner at Forward Sports Marketing (FSM).
FSM has worked alongside Payne in his past racetrack restorations.
The park near Odessa will be built on top of the original I-70 Speedway, a racetrack that played host to such drivers as Larry Phillips and Clint Bowyer from 1969 to 2008.
The new speedway will be a half-mile dirt and clay oval, lending a similar feel to the venue as it was in the 1970s and ‘80s before it was turned into an asphalt track. Today, the venue and its surroundings are overgrown and dilapidated, with vines crawling up faded signage and dirt and various flora spilling onto the track
Haas expects the Speedway to be used about twice a month for special events like sprint-car races or concerts.
Kansas City International Raceway, originally situated within Kansas City limits, will be a new addition to the old facility. Opened in 1967 and closed in 2011, the original KCIR featured two quarter-mile asphalt lanes for drag racing.
Payne is planning to rebuild KCIR as a near-replica and make it the main attraction of the park.
“There will be events on the drag strip that anybody can come and bring their daily-driver car and participate in,” Haas said, “as well as people that have purpose-built race cars who can come participate on the drag strip.”
Haas expects the KCIR to be built and ready for races by spring 2019, while the I-70 Speedway is expected to open soon after, during the summer.