Kansas Speedway History
In 1996, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) began exploring options to build a speedway facility in the Midwest region. In 1997, Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., were selected as the site for the new speedway. Located at the intersection of interstates 70 and 435, construction began in May of 1999 on the 1.5 mile tri-oval, 75,000 seat Kansas Speedway. At the Construction Celebration, NASCAR drivers Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Kenny Schrader helped kick off the event along with NASCAR President Bill France, Jr., International Speedway Corporation (ISC) President and Chief Operating Officer Jim France and ISC Executive Vice President Lesa Kennedy. Also in attendance are Kansas Governor Bill Graves and Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas Unified Government Mayor/CEO, Carol Marinovich.
Kansas Speedway began ticket sales in July 1999 through the sale of the Founding Fan P.A.S.S. (Preferred Access Speedway Seating). Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee and former Kansas City Royals player George Brett purchases the first Fan P.A.S.S., which allows fans to lock-in the best seat locations at the track as well as acquire benefits otherwise not available to the general public. In one day, all 32 luxury suites planned for the facility are sold out. The ISC Board of Directors approves funding for an additional 36 suites, increasing capacity to just under 82,000.
Initial marketing partners are announced in November of 1999: Midwest Ford Dealers Association, University of Kansas Medical Center, Pepsi-Cola, Price Chopper Supermarkets and Coors Brewing Company. At the same time, the speedway also announces its goals to utilize Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Woman Business Enterprises (WBE) in the construction of the speedway project.
In May 2000, NASCAR and Indy Racing League announced they will bring events to Kansas Speedway for its inaugural racing season in 2001.
Indy Racing League – July 8, 2001
NASCAR Busch Series – September 29, 2001
NASCAR Winston Cup Series – September 30, 2001
In August 2000, Kansas Speedway tickets went on sale to residents of Wyandotte County first and then five days later go on-sale world-wide via the internet, telephone, fax, US mail and at local Price Chopper stores. NASCAR also announces they will bring a third event to Kansas Speedway: the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will race in Kansas on July 7, 2001.
Track paving begins in September 2000 and construction is completed in early 2001.
In April 2001, Kansas Speedway hosted its first open test weekend. Hoosier Tires, the official tire of the ARCA RE/MAX Series, along with teams from the CART-sanctioned Dayton Indy Lights Championship test during the weekend. ARCA RE/MAX Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Ryan Newman tested his Penske South ARCA car during a test at Kansas Speedway, reaching speeds in excess of 170 mph.
Kansas Speedway opens its gates in May of 2001 for Founding Fans during “Meet Your Seat Day” at the track. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce names Kansas Speedway a tourism leader. Great names in motorsports, including seven-time Winston Cup champion Richard Petty, his son Kyle Petty, former Winston Cup champion and NBC analyst Benny Parsons, NASCAR President Mike Helton, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George, IndyCar great Al Unser Jr., all attend the Kansas City Sports Commission's Kansas Speedway Kickoff Luncheon at Kansas Speedway.
In June 2001, Kansas Speedway opens its gates for the inaugural race weekend running the NASCAR Winston West Series Kansas 150 and ARCA RE/MAX Series BPU 200.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Indy Racing League make their debut at the July race weekend in 2001, marking the first time NASCAR and IRL run on the same track during the same weekend.
In September 2001, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing comes to Kansas City, Kan., where a sold-out crowd watches Jeff Gordon win the first-ever NASCAR Winston Cup Series at Kansas Speedway.
In March 2002, Jeff Boerger is named Kansas Speedway president, replacing Grant Lynch.
In 2007, Kansas Speedway's traditional July 4th weekend races move to April.
On March 29, 2010, Pat Warren is named the president of Kansas Speedway, replacing Jeff Boerger. Boerger was named to president of Kansas Speedway Development Corporation.
On Aug. 10, 2010, Kansas Speedway was part of ISC's realignment of dates and was awarded a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race beginning in 2011.
On April 25, 2011, Kansas Speedway was named as the site of the inaugural Kanrocksas Music Festival, a two-day music festival featuring some of the biggest names in music.
On June 5, 2011, Kansas Speedway hosts the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events that the facility was awarded as part of ISC's realignment of dates.
In July 2011, Kansas Speedway announces track improvements that include a repave of the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a road course.
On Aug. 5-6, 2011, Kansas Speedway hosts the inaugural Kanrocksas Music Festival.
On Feb. 3, 2012, the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway officially opens, overlooking Turn 2 of Kansas Speedway.
On April 22, 2012, Kansas Speedway begins a track reconfiguration and road course project that is slated to be completed in early Sept. 2012 that will add progessive banking to the turns of Kansas Speedway and also add a road course in the infield.
In October 2012, race teams took to the newly reconfigured track for the first time and in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series quailfying, Kasey Kahne set a new track record topping the old track record by nearly 11 mph. Also, GRAND-AM road racing teams took to the new infield road course for the first time.