As we left 2012, Lakeside Speedway was for sale and work was happening for the track to be sold to Mike and Kyle Johnson and Don and Donna Marrs. Press releases were written and rumors were flying. The initial rumor was Marrs were putting up 80 percent of the money and the Johnson’s 20 percent. To refute the rumor I was shown the contract by Mike Johnson and Don Marrs in front of Terry Wantland which stated 50/50. In 2015 the racing community finds this to be true. The sale was finalized on March 12, 2013 with opening night one month away.
In the C.A.R.B. world the 501c3 was obtained for the Hall of Fame and Museum and the new officers and board of directors began meeting. The very first issue was establishing a goal of how much money we should work to obtain the first year. Instantly you could see an issue, one group led by the President thought the organization should set a goal of $10,000, another group thought the goal should be higher, much higher. Remember this organization was created to continue fundraising to build a museum. Additionally, C.A.R.B. President and Lakeside Speedway owner Mike Johnson volunteered the large back room at Lakeside Speedway to host the temporary location of the museum. By the end of the year, while work was accomplished to complete this endeavor the split within the organization was on
A group of us worked to make the museum a reality within the confines of the room. Another group though worked just as fast to destroy it always bringing up obstacles without solutions.
We also lost a great leader this year as Clyde Ellis passed away. Joan and Clyde wanted to buy a building to house the museum and Joan contacted me and asked that I have Terry Wantland and Lowell Christy look at a building. It was determined this building was not suitable then the former Trackside Bar and Grill on Leavenworth Road became available. I have written in the past how this miscommunication became a major issue, whether the president of the Hall of Fame and Museum did it intentionally or not some members of the board of directors were not informed on the day the group visited the building. An email was sent to me to review the contract before the president signed it, I asked questions, and then realized the sale date had a very quick deadline. I advised the president she needed an emergency meeting of the board that as president she did not have the latitude to sign the contract without the board of director’s approval.
To make a long story short a regular board meeting was held and the secrecy behind some of this became a major issue leading to lots of screaming yelling and even further miscommunication which continues to this day. Sides were drawn in this meeting, some having the full story, some not having the whole story and some accusing me of power playing. The truth was a lack of leadership, partly on my part, largely on the part of the president of the organization, and mostly on the behind scenes hiding of the facts because one party did not want another party knowing what was going on about a building.
Communication, openness, and honesty should always resolve issues. To this day there has been a lack of communication, a lack of openness, and a lack of honesty on the part of those involved. Even today when someone asks about the financial accounting within the Hall of Fame and Museum there is no response. What is the current officers and board of directors hiding? Folks that is part of the split within the racing community, not being open, not being honest, and hiding information. This will ultimately kill our sport and our history.
As for 2014 the split was even further brought about and on display when the elections were held for the term of the president of the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame and Museum. An election held and not in compliance with state law Chapter 355.271. People were purchasing memberships, in essence buying votes, when the organization should have complied with the state law and prepared an alphabetical list of the names of all its members who are entitled to vote at the annual meeting. Of course we can’t even receive financial information as required by law so I guess why should we expect the organization’s leadership to follow the laws under which the organization is formed?
Another area of split – the Legends picnic. Look at where it has been hosted the last two years, what happen to it being held at a neutral site? This is just one of the ways the evil selfish people continue to work on splitting the local racing community. Where will we be in five years with local racing? The future is starting to become clear and it is not pretty. Isn’t it time for open communications, honesty, and truth?
2013 and 2014 the history is in the books. The evil actions of a few have already started. You can usually figure out a person and his or her evilness by listening to them talk about I, me, my instead of we, us, our. We, us, and our got us to this point, me, mine, and I is tearing it down. In 2015 the split will continue and even spread to racing series, to racetracks, to longtime friends.