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06 December 2008

Kansas Speedway

Kansas Speedway Seating Chart

Kansas Speedway History

Address: Kansas City, KS

Kansas Speedway

It took a while, but NASCAR finally found its way to the home state of the man who won the first race in what would become its signature series.

On June 19, 1949, a group of racers gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for the first official race in what was called the “Strictly Stock” series. When the car that crossed under the checkered flag was disqualified for having violated the “strictly stock” part, the winner of that first race wound up being a Kansan named Jim Roper.

More than 50 years later, in 2001, the series that grew out of that 1949 race came to Kansas Speedway for the first time.

The 1.5-mile facility was constructed near the intersection of two major interstate highways. The site, about 15 miles from downtown Kansas City, Mo., but located across the state line in Wyandotte County, Kansas, was selected in 1997 by International Speedway Corporation, the company that owns other racing facilities such as Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Darlington Raceway.

The people behind the project knew that Kansas Speedway, once built, would fill a major void in the Midwest, an area of the United States with dozens and dozens of tracks where racers and race fans spend their summer evenings.

When construction began in May 1999, drivers Rusty Wallace and Ken Schrader, both of whom grew up racing their cars all around the Midwest, were there to help mark the occasion. It took only a few months for eager fans to snap up all of the available tickets for the 32 luxury suites originally planned at Kansas Speedway. The ISC board of directors quickly approved funding for 36 additional suites. Before it was even built, Kansas Speedway was already growing.

The following May, as construction continued, NASCAR and the Indy Racing League announced plans to bring races to Kansas Speedway for its inaugural season in 2001. The IRL went first, on July 8, 2001, followed by the NASCAR Busch and Cup series on the weekend of Sept. 29-30.

The 1.5-mile track is 55 feet wide with 15 degrees of banking in its turns, 10.4 degrees on the trioval frontstretch and 5 degrees on the backstretch.

As race fans from the Midwest flocked to buy tickets for its events, Kansas Speedway has expanded intelligently from its original capacity of around 75,000. Today, nearly 87,000 tickets are available for races at the track and there’s room to add up to as many as 150,000 fans down the road.

Kansas Speedway has become the anchor around which a great deal of business development has taken place. Retail stores, hotels, restaurants and other facilities have come to the area surrounding Kansas Speedway, helping to add both to the quality of life in the area and to the experience for fans who come to the track for races featuring NASCAR and other cars.

Jeff Gordon won the first two Cup races held at Kansas Speedway. Ryan Newman was the winner in 2003, and in 2004 when the track’s Banquet 400 was a part of the Chase for Nextel Cup, it was Joe Nemechek making the trip to victory lane.

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