Over the course of my involvement in racing I have been blessed to meet and work with many of the movers and shakers in the business. From track owners, to car owners, to race fans, to pit crews, to officials, to racecar drivers, to media personnel, to support staff, to even the people who work indirectly in the business each and everyday such as my air traffic control co-workers. This sport is amazing because if you stand back and look around there are many people who make the sport the great sport it has become and continues to be!
Today’s inductee is one of the people that is a mover and shaker, but we don’t always realize at the time how involved he really is making things happen. His involvement in this sport was huge in the Kansas City racing market and it continues today. He still lives in this area, with his wife, in Leawood Kansas. He was born in Topeka, Kan., graduated from Parkway West High School in St. Louis, Missouri and he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Kansas in 1988.
I don’t remember exactly the first time I met this individual, it might have been at any of the meetings we sat in on with Talladega Speedway President Grant Lynch or it could have been at one of the preplanning meetings at Kansas City International Tower concerning the NASCAR Air Force. In the late 1990s Diana Green was President of the Central Auto Racing Boosters and I was secretary and we worked with Lynch’s group in various capacities providing information about local racing. Additionally, we shared information about the upcoming Kansas Speedway via the Central Auto Racing Boosters newsletters.
At one of these meetings in the fall of 2000, today’s inductee into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame asked me to find 20 to 25 individuals who if they met Dale Earnhardt they would not go “Oh My God, your Dale Earnhardt!”. I set out to accomplish this task and came up with 19 names who when I interviewed them that was one of my first questions. That initial list was the start of what became a 200 plus group of volunteers known as the Pit Tour Club at Kansas Speedway. I am also pleased to see a recent recruitment poster for the Pit Tour Club which tells me it is still ongoing.
The individual who asked me to come up with the list is today’s inductee into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame, Jeff Boerger, former President of Kansas Speedway and current Vice President, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) Corporate Development and President of Kansas Speedway Development Corporation (KSDC). Boerger oversees all ISC company-owned and operated real estate seeking its highest and best use, including ISC’s interest in the partnership that operates the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.
Along with the Pit Tour Club, I worked with Jeff via my full-time job at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA was interested because we had been told the NASCAR Air Force came in with 130 aircraft to each race, it was half that total and that is for another story if I ever get around to writing an autobiography. Additionally, the FAA was interested in the banner tow operations, the helicopter operations, the fly over operations and any movement in the airspace above Kansas Speedway. After September 11, 2001 these functions became even more amplified. Jeff called one morning during construction of the track and invited me for a tour. This tour included viewing the speedway from the suites without any glass being installed, visiting the planned Hospitality Village, and visiting the roof where our FAA spotters could be stationed.
In preparation for Kansas Speedway’s first race, Boerger brought his staff to Lakeside Speedway one night to work with then track owner Marc Olson’s staff during one of the weekly races. This gave his staff a first-hand look and feel for the circumstances and challenges all racetracks experience at a racing event.
Currently, Boerger manages ONE DAYTONA, ISC’s premier retail, dining and entertainment project. In our annual travels to Daytona we have witnessed the addition of Bass Pro Shops®, Cobb Theatres, and a Marriott hotel. What was accomplished with the Legends area around Kansas Speedway is now being accomplished across from Daytona International Speedway. Boerger is a specialist at creating destination facilities!
Jeff Boerger has been a mover and shaker in the Kansas City racing community and the national racing community. He has found his place in racing and we are so glad he did. Congratulations Jeff Boerger, today’s inductee into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame.
Credit: Parts of this induction story were taken from the ISC website and Fields of Thunder book written by Jim Pedley and Randy Covitz.