Field Trip

Field Trip: Kansas Speedway


Two Italians in the heart of Americana

The Kansas Speedway was, until last year, strictly a NASCAR venue with two races a season for the drivers and their fans who ached and pined for that “chase of the cup.”


Author’s opinion: (I’m not saying that i’m strictly a two-wheeled only racing fan (I love me some F1 and JGTC) but damn, I have never stayed awake long enough to watch a NASCAR race in its entirety.  The argument I mostly hear is that I don’t understand “drafting.”  And by “don’t understand” what they really mean is that I haven’t seen it, thus I don’t get the excitement and allure.  I want to say that the same thing about World Superbike and MotoGP and Supercross, EnduroCross, the FIM Speedway Championship, Indoor Trials Championship and all of the other televised moto racing sports.  However, I have seen NASCAR and it’s drafting and bumping and I’m still not impressed.)

Because the Kansas Speedway is a NASCAR venue, I’ve never really paid much attention to the facility.  Well, late last year, they broke ground and paved a road course inside of their infield which, of course, spread hot rumors about he potential of running motorcycle track days – if not racing – at the tri-oval!  Shortly thereafter, our local track hero Hector St John stopped by the offices to see if we’d be interested in sponsoring a day or two at the Speedway.

Months later and I find myself standing on track next to a Rosso red Ducati Panigale S, a Ducati 696 dripping with carbon fiber and a blue and yellow track-prepared GSXR, all of which are humming, thumping and making the most beautiful of noises.  On a side note, it’s been a long winter and for those of you who have experienced track days, you know what I mean when I write that I’ve long missed that sound of a high-strung engine echoing over winding strokes of asphalt.

I was at the Speedway with St John, Steve-O (owner of Reno’s Yamaha & Ducati), Jim of G-Baby Racing and Dean of D2 Cycles; all accomplished track riders and with the exception of myself, all racers.  The idea was to walk the track, throw some machinery around and see if we could develop a cool event out at the Speedway that would not only attract lots of riders, but more importantly, be safe.

As with any track, there are safety concerns, and St John had a lot of them, but the group overall spotted them and decided that, with a few changes, the track could be a great attraction to mid and high level riders.  The big issue is the Speedway itself and it’s high-speed banked corners, but that is another story for another post.  In regards to developing a great event for all of mankind, I was lucky enough to be asked of my input but that only led to arguments so I’ll save that for a soon-to-follow second post.

All in all, it looks like the Kansas Speedway might actually turn out to be a very bike-friendly location and we at ‘Closeouts get to be involved as it plans develop, so stay tuned for more info!

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