Monday, April 16, 2012

Why I Love NASCAR: Kansas Speedway by Chief 187™

“Carry on My Wayward Son” I sang. Rather well I might add and with strength. Lots of strength.

My husband shook his head no.

“To the Point of No Return, Point of No Return… How Long? How Long? How Long to the Point of No Return” I tried, singing particularly well I felt. I mean, I was really into it.

“Nope,” my husband stated patiently, a bemused smile on his face.

“Dust in the Wind. All we are is Dust in the Wind.” I smiled, sure I had nailed it this time.

“Not quite,” my husband assured me.

“Um, let me think. Not that Kansas. Ok, what else could it be?” I wondered aloud.

“I’ve got it! Somewhere Over the Rainbow bluebirds fly, birds fly over the rainbow why oh than why can’t I? If happy little bluebirds…” I trailed off. My husband was shaking his head and rolling his eyes at me now. I was running out of connections.

Grasping at straws I came out with, “Hallmark?! I mean, I know it’s in Kansas so that has to be it!”

This time my husband’s eyes narrowed and I could almost see the cartoon cloud of frustration rise about his brow as he motioned no once again.

“Ok, I give, what am I supposed to know about Kansas that I don’t already know? Corn?”

In the heartland of America, fans love racing at Kansas.
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Well, apparently the Kansas Speedway is what I know now that I didn’t know a scant few years ago. But in that time I learned a lot. I’ve yet to visit this track, but I have good friends in and around the area that I would love to meet up with at this venue.

Built in 2001 the Kansas Speedway now hosts two NASCAR Sprint Cup events each season. The track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval. The facility was designed by the Architecture firm HNTB, the same group that created Chicagoland Speedway.

Set in the Midwest to attract NASCAR fans from America’s Heartland, Kansas has the added attraction of a casino.

The Penn National Gaming Hollywood Hotel and Casino was a $380 million investment by the speedway to bring in even more fans. It has a 100,000 square foot gaming floor with 2,300 slot machines, 61 table games, and 25 poker tables.

There are also myriad nightlife attractions as well as restaurants and clubs at the Penn National Gaming Hollywood Hotel and Casino.

With the estimation of nearly a half a million people visiting the track and hotel/casino each year, the two entities announced this past February that for the next ten years in the fall race at Kansas Speedway the event would be called the Hollywood Casino 400.

Weather sometimes plagues race weekends at Kansas Speedway so in late 2010/early 2011 lights were added. These lights were put in to help elongate race day in the event of a rain delay.

After leaving Texas Motor Speedway, another 1.5 mile track, it is logical to see who did well there to predict who will perform well at Kansas Speedway.

The same names keep appearing for both tracks, names like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and last week’s Samsung Mobile 500 winner and current points leader Greg Biffle. But also look for names like Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski to vie for the win.

I don’t buy into the term “cookie cutter track” ever since I interviewed Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage. He explained the different venues in a way that made sense to me.

Kansas Speedway nestled in America’s Heartland has a strong draw and is a track that will consistently lure race fans. I’m thankful it is on the circuit and can tell you Kansas Speedway is yet another reason why I love NASCAR.


  1. What did Eddie say? How are they all different?

  2. You can read the interview I conducted with Eddie Gossage here:

  3. I linked to your piece in my trackside interview, Candice.

  4. Thank you so much, LJC! I noticed! Your piece was excellent!

  5. Thank you. I read yours-- which was excellent, too-- and decided to take a completely different tack. And I heard a LOT about Kansas because of the pending repave and the new casino.