IndyCar – Kansas Preview: An introduction to open-wheel racing around Kansas City


no images were found

The IZOD IndyCar Series has been coming to the new Kansas Speedway since its opening in 2001. This year with be their 10th race at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval track, and for the second time in a row it will be the first oval race of the season, and since 2007 it will be the lead-in event to the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. So far this season, we’ve seen three street races and one road race, two of which were outstanding, one was still pretty good, and the last was …well… it was a great event, even if it wasn’t a great race. Now many fans of the oval-track tradition of IndyCar racing are chopping at the bit to see wheel-to-wheel racing at 200+ mph. In the past, the Kansas Speedway has offered this in abundance, although last year because of an unfortunate convergence of restrictive aero rules and tornadic weather the race was a bit of a dud. Last season before the race at Kentucky Speedway the aero regulations were relaxed and the oval racing improved immediately, so that’s good news for this year’s Kansas race. The weather? Well, it is springtime in Kansas, so anything goes. Bring sunscreen, a hat, cool drinks, a thermos of coffee, a jacket and a blanket. You might need them all in the same day!

If you’re a long time reader of, you may remember our brief recap of the history of IndyCar racing in Kansas City. Back in the days of board-track racing, the AAA sanctioned four events at the long gone Kansas City Speedway. After those four events, IndyCar racing didn’t return to Kansas City until the IZOD IndyCar Series came to the Kansas Speedway in 2001. Open-wheel racing, however, never left the region and remains a vibrant part of the racing landscape in and around the Kansas City area. The whole area, as is most of the MidWest, is dotted with dirt ovals featuring several classes of open-wheel racing including virtual all categories of sprints, midgets, and micro cars. Most of the tracks around Kansas City are 1/4-mile tracks, but there are a few 1/2-mile tracks as well, including the famous 1/2-mile dirt oval at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

Friday Night is Open-Wheel Night

If you’re coming to the Kansas race this weekend, and you have no plans for Friday night, we highly recommend that you make the journey down I-70 to Grain Valley, MO for Open-Wheel Night at Valley Speedway. They’ll be racing a whole range of wingless cars including 305 sprints, 1200cc lightning sprints, 600cc micro sprints, and mod lights. Gates open at 6pm, with hot laps starting 7pm, and heat races starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are only $10 for adults and $5 for kids 6-12. Kids 5 and under are free. What better way to get pumped up for the IndyCar race than to see some great hometown open-wheel dirt action!

Tomorrow, we’ll begin a series of articles looking at the history of open-wheel racing around the region starting with post-war era.

Related posts