posted on August 21, 2013 14:31
Grand-Am Road Racing at Kansas Speedway
While Kansas City has had its share of professional racing at Kansas Speedway, the only thing missing was a professional road race series coming to town. With the recent addition of a 2.37-mile roval (road coarse plus oval) utilizing most of the speedway banking on top of the new infield layout, that problem has been solved.
Don’t let the empty rows of seating fool you. The infield and paddock areas were packed with fans who were able to get up close and personal with the cars and drivers.
The inaugural event at Kansas Speedway drew a nice crowd, and was a big hit with the fans as well as the drivers. Despite having just a 6-turn layout, which doesn't look like much on paper, most of the drivers seemed surprisingly pleased with the track. Gary Liefooghe, driver of the #81 Bimmerworld car that took first in ST at Road America a week prior, commented on how tough it was to find those last few tenths on the infield. That seemed to be a common theme in most driver conversations we had.
There seemed to be a good number of local car fans who may have been new to the Grand-Am series, or even road course racing at all for that matter, but it’s never hard to find fans of exotic cars, so the Lamborghini Super Trofeo support series garnered a lot of attention.
The site of a Lamborghini on air jacks is enough to make any car fan stop and stare, but it didn’t hurt that the #33 car was driven by 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medalist turned reality TV star Bruce Jenner and his son Burt.
Posted in: Magazine
, Race Cars
, Races & Shows
, Civic SI
Thursday, August 22, 2013 11:46 AM
The sad state of racing in America. No one cares anymore.
Thursday, August 22, 2013 12:00 PM
Saturday was actually a good turn out, but everyone was in the infield, so the stands were basically empty. Mind you, they can seat 72,000 in the stands and I'm pretty confident there weren't even half that number there total.
The sad thing from a local-guy perspective is that I saw ZERO local advertising leading up to this. Nothing on TV, no billboards, and no radio commercials even. For a NASCAR weekend they start setting up digital traffic signs 10 miles out the week before. You had to be on the KS Speedway email list or already be somewhat entrenched in the Rolex series to even know anything was happening.
Thursday, August 22, 2013 1:02 PM
When I was a kid they might get 3-5,000 people at Riverside for a SCCA regional! Yes I remember there were spectators at your local SCCA race. For IMSA in GTP's heyday they would cram more than 100,000 people in. Racing was a big deal. Now no one even wants to see ALMS. The crowds at Long Beach are so unenthusiastic, they are just there for the festival.
I lived near Ascot Park and they would pack the place on a weekday for crappy stock cars and the weekends were full for sprints. I used to sit near the fence so I would get sprayed with dirt. It was fun. Then they tore the place down and made it a car auction lot....
I also lived near Lions Drag strip and that was cool. Could not wait until I could drive myself so I could race there. They had a motocross track too. Now it's a container yard. Terminal Island raceway and Honda Haven motocross track are also container yards.
When I was a kid, you had Riverside, Ascot, Lions, OCIR, Honda Haven, Adams and Saddleback, all motorsports places in the local LA urban area. Now there is only Adams. Just outside of LA you had Indian Dunes, LACR, Sagus Speedway, Corona Speedway, Willow Springs, Ontario. Now there is only Willow and I guess the built cal speedway and irwindale, thank god.
There is no place for kids to be exposed to Motorsports anymore. When I was little it was in your neighborhood practically!
People in the USA only like NASCAR and even interest in that is declining as younger people don't like cars anymore. Sad.
Thursday, August 22, 2013 1:11 PM
Yeah, it's unfortunate and very true. I don't understand it, but it definitely makes me sad. There should be standing room only at an event of this magnitude. My son seems to have the bug, though, so I'm hoping in another few years he'll want to build a kart together, then we can do some good ole father/son grassroots racing... If it even exists anymore. :-(
Thursday, August 22, 2013 2:08 PM
My boys have the bug also so maybe love for motorsports might have skipped a generation.
Friday, August 23, 2013 2:08 AM
I got to see one of the Lambos up close while visiting GMG in the OC. The rear bodywork is pretty insane.
Friday, August 23, 2013 2:00 PM
Road America was PACKED for the ALMS and Grand-Am events. Mid Ohio was quite busy as well for Grand-Am. Don't give up on sports car racing just yet!
Monday, August 26, 2013 5:38 PM
I went to this and had a ton of fun. BTW, how can you not mention that Boris Said was piloting the Fox Camaro in the Rolex GT class? Granted, the car retired 20-minutes in and Boris never got to drive...but IT'S BORIS SAID!
BTW, I have a decent picture of one of the Mazda6 GX cars if you'd like to post it.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:13 PM
You should have stopped by, I was driving the 93!