Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2001

First season receives high marks

October 3, 2001

The first season for Kansas Speedway finished Sunday, and about 100,000 people were on hand for the Winston Cup Series race.

With so many spectators attending, it seems the Speedway was geared toward the ultimate racing fan.

Larry Andrews, Tonganoxie, is one of those enthusiasts. Larry and his wife, Sue, had season tickets for the inaugural season at the Kansas City, Kan., track.

Andrews, who once lived in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been to the Indianapolis 500 but said he enjoyed Kansas Speedway more.

"The view is better and the facilities are better," Andrews said. "It's more fan-friendly."

The couple also purchased passes for the Fan Walk, which winds down on the infield. Andrews said the event provides family entertainment.

"There were areas at Indianapolis where you didn't take your kids," Andrews said.

Kent Stafford, Olathe, made Sunday's race a father-son event. His 6-year-old son, Ryan, attended the races as well.

"He's been a race fan about as long as he's been alive," Kent said.

Kent was introduced to racing a few years ago by some friends and has followed it ever since. The Staffords are Jeff Gordon fans, so they were pleased with Gordon's victory on Sunday. The Winston Cup event was their first, and Kent said it was impressive.

"I've been told the track's unique in that you can see the whole race all of the time," Kent said.

Kent and Ryan watched the race from the sixth row in the grandstands. It was a little too loud for Ryan, but he plans to stick with NASCAR.

"I am gonna race," Ryan said.

The Andrews are Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte fans and got involved in racing when their son, Greg, drove stock cars at Lakeside Speedway. Greg no longer races but the Andrews are still big fans. They targeted Sunday's Protection One 400 as their marquee race for the season.

"I just think the track did a good job for the first year," Andrews said. "I'm very impressed."

He did suggest that lights be installed for mid-summer races. The July races were extremely hot and an evening race would be better, Andrews said.

The only problem during the day was traffic, but Andrews wasn't too frustrated by that, either.

"Try to get 100,000 people trying to leave the track at the same time," he said. "We just tailgated for awhile. It wasn't any problem."

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