Kansas City International Raceway - The Last Race Day
In business since 1967... Sunday, November 20, 2011, marked the last day of operations for K.C.I.R.
Regrettably, nothing lasts forever on this earth and the legendary Kansas City dragstrip fell victim to the land-grabbing growth of the city. The city plans to build a community park on the raceway grounds at some point in the future. There was quite a bit of controversy over the aquisition of the KCIR property and how the whole deal came down. Throughout its history, KCIR played host to the greats of straightline racing - Garlits, Muldowney, and many others shot down the 1/4 mile in their beautiful machines with smoke, fire, and deafening noise. In truth, when the end came for the dragstrip, it was that very smoke, fire, and noise that contributed to the demise of the track.
In 1967, the new KCIR was out on the edge of the city surrounded by farm fields, cows, and some rural residential homes and small businesses. For many years, there was no one in the immediate area to be concerned about and, in fact, the local hamlet of Knobtown financially benefited greatly from the weekend crowds that went to the drag races.
Through the years, the residential building has boomed in that rural area. Ironically, it was the very same rural country charm and local hills, trees, and winding roads that drew in the homeowners and land developers. The new crowd of wealthy and influential homeowners began to complain about the loud engine noise and traffic that are always a part of drag races. Eventually, the homeowners got the attention of the politicians and they won out. KCIR was sold to the city of Kansas City for "future development".
The last weekend was cold, cloudy, and rainy. But still, the diehard drag fans turned out for some last runs down the KCIR Strip. It was a "Run Whatcha Brung" meet for the locals so they could all say goodbye to KCIR and all the wonderful weekends of the last 44 years. There were no big name drag racers present and the weather was miserable (the races were rained out on Saturday and moved to Sunday and the turnout was low due to the weather).
KCIR, like so many things and places just faded away into the memory books. The KC Slammers were lucky to have members Alan Sterbenz and his son, Dalton, in attendance at the last day. Alan and Dalton took their classic 1957 T-Bird for a last run down the old track. Alan also provided us with the great pictures in this album for all to enjoy.