Central Missouri Speedway held their Tom Wilson Memorial Race this past weekend copying a format first introduced into the Kansas City Racing community by former Lakeside Speedway owner Marc Olson. The Jayhawk was a race sponsored by McCarthy Auto Group and the first in the area that paid $5,000 to win and $1,000 dollars to start. It became an annual event at Lakeside towards the end of the season. Why the end of the season, so as track point races were ending the pool of drivers would be larger to compete. Marc Olson believed in working with other owners rather than competing.
The battle Valley Speedway is fighting to stay in business against politicians Marc would be supporting the speedway. Remember when KCIR was taken away from the Kansas City area? Marc Olson would attend those meetings supporting the speedway. Good Luck Dennis in your battle with Grain Valley, all track owners should be standing behind Dennis in his battle because this battle could spread like a disease and other politicians think they could do the same. We need to stop the cancer before it spreads.
Back to the $5,000 to win $1,000 to start format. Marc and I shared how we set up that race and how the drivers qualify including the scramble. Karen Darling interviewed both of us, learning the format and the reason each race led to another. The first year the format involved qualifying the inside row and the second night the outside row. At the drivers request the format was changed to the those qualifying the first night would be the first six rows and the second night the last six rows. The drivers believed those who supported both nights should keep some drivers from cherry picking by racing the first night at a better paying show and then coming in the second night and earning a front row spot.
We also have Marc Olson and Ron Shuman to thank for bringing back the non wing sprint cars into the area. That first race was a true challenge as it was a Tuesday night show without a rain date. Four inches of rain and Lakeside still ran, but oh what a challenge, pushing off the cars was a challenge. Coordination of who raced when, we also ran the modifieds, was a challenge. But from that first race led to the $10,000 win races and “oldtimers weekend”.
Oldtimers weekend is also a Marc Olson created event. Marc asked if C.A.R.B. would supply the workers to serve a meal he would foot the bill for the meal, a hotdog, a bag of chips, and a drink. The next year the meal became a bbq sandwich, chips, potato salad, and a drink. Then C.A.R.B. began kicking in and the event became a catered event with a tent and chairs and tables. Marc was spending thousands and donations added up to less than a hundred. The Oldtimers was a Charlie and Betty Kraft event that began as a night to get together at Lakeside Speedway. It grew to this huge event thanks to Marc Olson. Unfortunately this also became a drain on funds. Other groups have stepped forward to continue this oldtimer event but now under the name Legends.
Lets give credit where credit is due – THANK YOU MARC OLSON!