Possible tornado Tuesday in SW Missouri damages racetrack, cancels event

Damage from a storm and possibly a tornado in southwest Missouri caused the postponement of an annual racing event set for this weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway in Hickory County.

The National Weather Service was looking into reports Tuesday afternoon of tornadoes in southwest Missouri that left buildings damaged, including a drive-thru animal park and a grocery store.

The weather service office based in Springfield said one tornado was seen “on the ground, heading toward Northview and Marshfield” in Webster County, about five to 10 minutes after the weather service had issued a warning, it said. Marshfield, near Springfield, is about 65 miles southeast of the racetrack at Wheatland in Hickory County.

Track officials said they continued to evaluate a makeup weekend for the Lucas Oil Show-Me 100, which the speedway described as a “crown jewel event for dirt Late Models.”

“Our first thoughts are for the people of the Wheatland community and the area and we are thankful that there were no fatalities,” Lucas Oil Director of Racing Operations Dan Robinson said in a statement.

It was unclear if a tornado hit the speedway. Track officials said the storm damaged several buildings and “destroyed the grandstands at the off road track.”

The campground suffered damage and debris was scattered across the facility. Some vehicles were toppled and nearby homes were damaged, the track said.

Advance tickets already bought will be honored when the event is rescheduled.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.