Well this year has seen many splits and guess what some of the same names stated in previous articles on this subject are the same names included in this article. But it is not the names of the individuals which have split the racing community and are continuing to hurt it, instead it is two traits which are splitting the racing community, jealousy and selfishness.
Let’s start with how the racing community is continuing to split just this year:
Lakeside Speedway – the breakup of the Johnson/Marrs ownership group. This breakup started when one owner of the four started requesting and demanding the books after the first year. Even when provided this information the owner brought in attorneys to communicate between the families instead of one on one communication. This led to the filing of a lawsuit, the racing community spreading it like wild fire, an agreement to sale, the Johnson’s completing their part of the sale on May 27, 2015 and then finally on July 14, 2015 the Marrs’ completed their portion of the sale with the dismissal of the lawsuit (http://www.jococourts.org/civroa.aspx?which=15CV00215).
The Midwest Outlaw Lightning Sprints, this group prior to this year would normally have fourteen to eighteen competitors when they arrived at a racetrack. This year, another split, the group would race at various racetracks but with only eight to ten competitors because a splinter group was racing at Central Missouri Speedway. Not naming names but two of the officers of the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame assisted in creating this split.
The Vintage classes involve the Midwest Outlaw Vintage Racing and the Show Me Vintage Racers. One night at I-35 Speedway both groups were in attendance together. That night they had 18 cars start the feature. Drivers came to me and asked me to tell Mike and Kyle Johnson “Thank You” because they enjoyed racing against each other and after all isn’t that what all racers desire is competition. Since that night there has been talk about both groups competing together, but the leadership is resisting. Maybe the local groups should adopt John Ferguson’s policy for the Good Old Time Racing Association (GOTRA), they ran a trophy dash for the drivers who had not won a trophy for the year. The feature was just another opportunity to race against each other and have fun!
The Grand National class is just another example of a split in a class with fewer competitors each year. This class was born from the asphalt Charger class when the dirt was added at Lakeside Speedway. Jealousy and selfishness are really apparent in this class. There are two tracks which run this class and two sets of rules. Why the two sets of rules, because one driver/track owner could not beat what was perceived as an advantage for the crate motors. Again instead of fifteen or sixteen competitors, one track averages seven competitors and the other eight competitors.
C.A.R.B. is another split which should not have happened and this can be attributed directly to me. In 2003 when we were working together to start the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame, the main emphasis was we were working together. In 2011, jealousy stepped forward and caused the initial split, a split between those of us who created and maintained the Hall of Fame and those who thought there was power in controlling it. At the time you could say it was the Ellis, Green, Bergman, and Wantland families, perceived as the Lakeside clique versus the Darling, Johnson, Powell, and Kaster families. I was the one who pushed to split off the Hall of Fame into a 501c3 so we could collect donations to support the history of our Kansas City racing community. To this day I think this was one of the worst decisions I have ever made!
Why do I say this? Four years later look at what jealousy and selfishness have caused, there remains a split with added players but some of the sides have changed. Some people have worked to join everyone back up only to be thwarted by people still protecting their domain (example: Lakeside Speedway a C.A.R.B. track not having their banquet with C.A.R.B. but instead with Central Missouri Speedway a non C.A.R.B. track). Guess you could say this is another split with a central figure in some other splits in the middle again.
People are jealous of who or whom has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Politics has been played in some of these decisions. When we first started this Hall of Fame Joan Ellis advised this would be the downfall of the group. I was challenged for years on who served on the selection committee, it was a proposal I wrote up and presented to the 2013 board and officers, that is utilized today, adding the past inductees as voters. However, what I did not see was the manipulation of the system, again caused by jealousy and selfishness.
While on this subject I do want to say thank you to the Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors for finally sending me an annual financial report. This data should be open to everyone as required by law. Additionally, there should be no secrets, being a 501c3 requires openness to the general public.
All of this splitting is caused by jealousy and selfishness. Instead of splitting we must return to working together, let bygones be bygones. Will that be easy, no some people need to apologize to others, some need to quit their selfishness and let’s all work together. Open the lines of communication and it will stop some of the selfishness and point out those who are jealous.
The Lakeside Speedway split should be over as there is only one owner. The Midwest Outlaw Lightning Sprints should be under the umbrella of Bob Douglas as he founded this group. The vintage groups need to form together as one and quit worrying about who wins the features and instead allow those who have not won a trophy an opportunity to win a trophy. The Grand National class needs only one set of rules developed by those not competing in the class but instead those teching the class. The Central Auto Racing Boosters should join together as one group again if that means disbanding the Hall of Fame and Museum group then so be it (I know some will accuse me of trying to split the group when in reality I am suggesting working together again).
In building up the Central Auto Racing Boosters we would all work together, look at what occurred when working together, 20 plus years of a Bowlathon and a Golf Tournament, a 50 Year history of the organization book, and the Hall of Fame. To stop the splitting we need to kick jealousy and selfishness to the curb. Who is willing to join this battle?