Weekend at Speedway pays off
The Kansas Speedway has been a hit with local racing enthusiasts, and it's proven profitable for two local groups.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which on Sunday concluded this season's fund-raising effort at the Speedway, operated a concession stand to help raise money for a new campus, to be built south of Washington Street on the west side of U.S. Highway 24-40.
The Tonganoxie Fire Department also continued its fund-raising at the event, operating a beer stand.
From Thursday to Sunday, the church took in about $121,000, church council member Kerry Putthoff said. The church will receive roughly 10 percent.
"It beats car washes and bazaars hands down," Putthoff said.
Putthoff said he hadn't calculated the amount the church made from volunteers' work at the speedway this summer.
The church had 15 and 17 workers on Thursday and Friday and 31 workers for the Mr. Goodcents 300 race on Saturday. Putthoff said 32 workers helped on Sunday for the biggest race the Protection One 400.
"It's fast and furious and at the end of the race you wonder where the time went," Putthoff said.
Charlie Conrad, Tonganoxie fire chief, said his group did about as well last week as they did during previous races.
"It was better than the hot July," Conrad said.
The fire department raised between $8,000 and $10,000 for the summer during three race weekends. The department was raising money for a thermal imaging camera, which helps firefighters detect people inside structures. Conrad said the money raised should cover the cost of the device.
Putthoff said the crowd at the concession stand was usually big before the races. As the race progressed, the concession crowd died down, although 13 caution flags and one red flag, which stops the race completely, brought people back down from the grandstand for food.
Putthoff expects to be back selling at the races next year for the church with the help of the other Sacred Heart volunteers.
"I can't thank people enough for time they put in for this," Putthoff said. "I have a core group that exceeds my expectations."
Although a timetable hasn't been set for construction at the church's new site, Putthoff said the money raised at the Kansas Speedway would provide help for Sacred Heart's building fund.
"If nothing else, it will alleviate extras that come up with construction," Putthoff said. "We're on the doorstep."