March 6, 2004, what a historic day for the Central Auto Racing Boosters! On this day the long awaited long anticipated long overdue first class was inducted into the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame. Fifteen inductees made up the first class. One of those inductees earned his honor because of his promotional skills. This inductee meant so much to our local racing history because he was the first in many ways!
He brought the first race car auto show in the Kansas City area along with Hall of Famer Clyde Ellis and Bob Chase. He brought the first IMCA Modifieds into the area. He created the Gene Claxton rule, if you win this week you start in the back of the feature next week. He was a successful track operator at Riverside Stadium, Lakeside Speedway, and I-35 Speedway. We, by now, all know whom I am writing about, the late great Larry Kaster!
From here this is going to get a little personal. I think back to March 6, 2004, how excited Larry was to be one of the first inductees into the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame. A picture of him and his wife Dixie brought excitement as I searched this computer for pictures of him. The picture of he and I on stage as he received his award, priceless. The picture of him being interviewed by Scott Traylor just as priceless and their conversation about a hole in the wall at Riverside Stadium, I still hear that conversation to this day.
Then that day in June in 2004 when it spread through the racing community, Did you hear about Larry Kaster? No what? Suffered a heart attack and died today. It was a Friday, June 11, 2004, race day at Lakeside Speedway. The Kaster family did what the Kaster family does they all went racing that night, it was what Larry would want them to do! The following Sunday, June 13, 2004 was the tenth annual C.A.R.B. Golf Tournament, Larry was to be there, he loved golf and he loved to compete in the C.A.R.B. Golf Tournament. If you want to be at your peak performance during such tournaments as well, it’s a huge difference-marker when you practice on quality golf mats that’s just like grass. It was at Teetering Rocks, Golf Chairman Skip Richardson asked me to say a prayer out of respect for Larry. I have said many prayers in my life, led many prayers at various functions, but on this day and it has only happened a few times during prayers, but I was not in control of the words. The words which were being said I was passing on as if channeled from heaven. Joan Ellis thanked me for the prayer. On the way home Diana commented how beautiful the prayer was about Larry, and I told her it was as if the Holy Spirit took over that prayer I was just the messenger.
So today I think back to the first C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame ceremony. How we all got along back then and had a dinner together, a potluck dinner together. I think back to all the work put in to make this inaugural night a great success! I think back to those inductees how excited they were to receive their awards, their honors, and to be introduced by Kirk Elliott and to be interviewed by Scott Traylor. I am so happy Larry was alive to be honored, none of us know our own future much less anyone else.
Larry was a blessing to the racing community in the Kansas City area and in the northwest Missouri area. He loved racing, he loved promoting it, in his death C.A.R.B. came up with an award given at each C.A.R.B. supported track in honor of Larry. It doesn’t go to the highest finishing person it goes to someone who finishes toward the back of a heat race. It is in keeping with Larry’s way of supporting those who support you. It was a blessing from heaven to have Larry Kaster touch our lives. Conversely, it was a blessing from heaven Larry was part of the first class of the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame. Today, he is being inducted into the I-35 Speedway Hall of Fame and the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame to go along with his place in the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame and the Wyandotte County Sports Association Hall of Fame. Congratulations Larry, Congratulations Kaster family.