So far a lot of this split has centered on the Central Auto Racing Boosters, an organization started in 1952 by Virginia Nelson and Clara Goshorn. Part of the reason for this is the leaders of the Central Auto Racing Boosters are also the leaders at the local racetracks. These leaders served as officials, flagmen, competition directors, and workers at the racetracks.
As we left 2011 we saw some of the backhanded and childish behavior of people, circumventing a constitution, calling people a clique, etc. As we have always done, a board meeting was held with the outgoing officers and board of directors and the incoming officers and board of directors. We held this meeting at the Green’s basement with the outgoing group at one end of the long row of tables and the incoming group at the other end. It was at this meeting Joan and Clyde Ellis resigned their positions from the Central Auto Racing Boosters, because a group of incoming officers and board wanted to change the constitution.
There was also jealousy, jealousy of the “Lakeside Clique” a term used by some in the community, and aimed at those of us who had carried C.A.R.B. to its heights and happened to work at Lakeside Speedway. One of those using the term is a current C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame and Museum Officer, funny how does that look in 2015?
The tension between groups grew even more when Karen Darling as the new Competition Director at I-35 Speedway opened the January 2012 I-35 Speedway driver’s meeting with “I am not J. D. Green, I am Karen Darling and I have in been in the business for 40 plus years and seen it all” or something very similar to that effect because I was not an eyewitness, instead within 5 minutes of the meeting starting my phone was ringing from drivers in attendance.
At the January C.A.R.B. General Membership Meeting the constitution committee became Mike and Kyle Johnson, Rick and Karen Darling, Jamie Powell, and Diana and myself. The first committee meeting again the tension could be cut with a knife, however, by the end of the meeting the common goal of what was good for racing and what was good for the organization had chipped a bit of the tension away (at least between Mike Johnson and the Greens). By the end of this year the tension wall, built by others, will be tore down because of another unexpected event.
But while the tension wall was there, as the outgoing President of C.A.R.B., I was serving the year of being a board of director as required by the Constitution. This requirement is to ensure both a mentoring process and the organizations goals and traditions are continued. Attending these meetings was not always pleasant as there were times statements were made which felt as if they were aimed at myself or my wife or the “Lakeside Clique”.
One of the first board meetings was the challenge of what had I done with the raceiver radio for I-35 Speedway. You see the person putting together the radio rentals for Lakeside and I-35 Speedways was myself via Michael White introducing me to Bruce Silver, President of Racing Electronics. Bruce Silver, myself, and Terry Wantland met at the Steak and Shake in Daytona Beach, Florida in February 2010. It was through Bruce we began utilizing raceivers at Lakeside and I-35 Speedways, and it was through Bruce both tracks began utilizing the Racing Electronics radio rental program. We had one raceiver radio for Lakeside Speedway and I had personally purchased a second radio for back up.
The tension was raised even further when I was questioned at a C.A.R.B. Board meeting about the title for the Hall of Fame trailer. I was sure I had put it in the president’s box when I gave the president’s box to the 2012 president but it was nowhere to be found. So Diana and I obtained the paperwork to obtain a replacement title, completed the paperwork included the $11 title fee (of which we were not reimbursed), and gave it to the Board and Officers. Also at issue was C.A.R.B. filing the paperwork to obtain tax exempt status with the State of Missouri, again Diana and I obtained the paperwork and provided to the Board and Officers. The organization is federal tax exempt, but not state tax exempt the last I knew.
Then the other tension piece was the selection of which attorney to hire to file the paperwork and obtain 501c3 status for the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame. Remember back in 2010 the organization had started working towards building for the museum. There were at one point five different attorneys and finally it was narrowed down to two and then the selection was made, Copilevitz and Canter, the same attorney we sat in their office at the end of 2011 after I called and scheduled a consultation.
Through all this tension the organization continued to work on the second auction for fundraising towards the Hall of Fame and Museum. This event was scheduled and held at Lakeside Speedway on October 27, 2012. Darrin and Lowell Christy took the lead on obtaining items for the auction. Marc Olson donated the grounds. The Christy family also included a swap and shop to go with the auction. I was again asked to auctioneer. Before the auction though another twist was thrown into the mix.
Lakeside Speedway had suffered several years of bad luck, from 14 rainouts in a year to a flood, to extreme hot weather when the races were being televised, to the point where we were needing to make cuts in personnel or as I did I asked the officials to help by taking a pay cut. Most were willing, none was mandatory, and one person complained each week at I-35 Speedway about it while she continued to work at Lakeside. We were helping where we could providing change orders and season ending trophies. It was an extremely stressful time for the owner.
On October 25, 2012 Marc Olson called three different people to let us know we could spread the word Lakeside Speedway was for sale. Those three people were Mike Knight, myself, and Mike Johnson. On the 27th, at the auction, none of us knew the others had received a call. Diana and I left the auction that day for our second trip to Hawaii.
While in Hawaii, I received calls from Tim Karrick, Mike Knight, and Mike Johnson all concerning the sale of Lakeside Speedway. It was only then we realized whom Marc had called and when. Upon our return we were invited to Mike and Kyle Johnson’s to discuss their purchasing of Lakeside Speedway. Before we could even discuss the Lakeside purchase we had a heart to heart discussion about our relationship, our friendship, about C.A.R.B., about events which had happened, basically getting everything on the table. Through this open forum of discussion we agreed to start working together and to assist the Johnson’s in their endeavor to become owners of Lakeside Speedway. We also told them we would guarantee them one of year of service to Lakeside if they were successful in the purchase.
Two weeks later we, the Johnsons and the Greens, attended the MLRA banquet at Harrah’s together. The look on everyone’s eyes as we walked in together was of total surprise. The year of tension had melted quite rapidly for some of us because of our love for a speedway. For others, well let’s just say their plotting and scheming had to take a new turn. On December 31, 2012 I was asked to return to I-35 Speedway.
So who split Kansas City racing? Any culprits here? There was obviously a split here or there would not have been tension. But who caused it and were their motives intentional, good or bad? Did jealousy cause a split? Maybe it was selfishness. Let’s see where 2013, 2014, and 2015 lead us.