“Oldtimers” Night, tonight we honor those who raced before and brought Lakeside Speedway to the point it has reached today. The original Oldtimers is a group of racers from the 50s and 60s led by Charlie and Betty Kraft. They talked with Lakeside Speedway track management and started inviting all the “old” racers to meet once a year, get in free, and reminisce about times gone by. Debbie Bergman, their daughter and our back gate leader, would do the mailing labels to invite everyone. Eventually the mailing list and mailing was turned over to Lakeside Speedway.
Each year the event grew as bench racing became a premium, especially at intermission as everyone joins together to get a group picture. It would be great to obtain all these pictures and display them in the Lakeside Speedway museum which opens upstairs tonight, free to all the race fans and racers at Lakeside Speedway. Over 60 years of items will be on display. This museum was created for ex-Lakeside Speedway drivers and family to display their photos, their memorabilia, and their history with this track. The periods were broke up into 1955-1969, the early years, 1970-1988, 92nd and Leavenworth Road, 1989-1999, the asphalt years, 2000-2012, Back to the Future, and 2013 to the present.
The Oldtimer night started as a get together. In 2004 Marc Olson approached then C.A.R.B. President J.D. Green and asked if C.A.R.B. would supply the workers he would supply the meal for an “Oldtimers” picnic. The original meal was a hot dog, a bag of chips, and a bottle of water. The picnic grew into an event. Marc Olson and Lakeside Speedway would rent a tent, table, and chairs and the meal grew from a hot dog and chips, to a hamburger and potato salad to barbeque beef, pork, and full scale meal. All Marc would ask is people put donate.
The flood of 2011 caused the “Oldtimer” picnic and night to be moved to I-35 Speedway. All oldtimers should be thankful for Mike and Kyle Johnson opening up and supporting this event when Lakeside was under water. Unfortunately the racing that night was rained out. In 2012 the event returned to Lakeside Speedway.
New oldtimers are being added. Those who competed in the 80s and 90s are being added as they have reached oldtimer status. What Charlie and Betty Kraft started continues to grow, our racers today will someday become the “Oldtimers” of the future.