GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — A loss for the local racing community and a hit to the economy in Grain Valley, that’s how Kansas City area race fans and drivers describe the town aldermen’s decision Thursday night to revoke the Valley Speedway’s permit for its dirt track.
The aldermen blame the track’s owner by saying he violated terms of his permit by not keeping noise levels down.
FOX 4’s Katie Banks went to Friday night’s race at Lakeside Speedway to get reaction to the decision. It’s one of just a few dirt tracks left within a short drive of the KCMO metro.
“We have a loyal following, of course,” said Lakeside Speedway owner Mike Johnson. “Racing across the country is huge.”
But that list of dirt tracks is about to get even shorter after Grain Valley leaders voted Thursday to revoke Valley Speedway owner Dennis Shrout’s conditional use permit.
Aldermen say the races are too loud and must drop the checkered flag for good come Oct 1. Shrout plans to challenge the decision in court.
“That’s our only mechanism to fight what we think is an unjust decision,” he told Fox 4.
It’s a decision race fans and drivers say will ultimately hurt the sport and Grain Valley’s economy.
“It’s sad,” said driver Kerry Davis. “You never want to see a race track close.”
John Waller, crew chief for Dustin Gilbert Motorsports, pointed out the track closure would just force fans and drivers to go elsewhere.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Waller said. “Every time we go to Grain Valley we stop at one of their local businesses and spend money.”
Tammy Murphy, a race fan for decades, said it will also make going to a race tough for families who can’t drive very far.
“That was one of our local tracks that was within reasonable distance, so it’s going be a lose-lose situation for race fans and drivers,” she said.
Grain Valley aldermen say they want to enter negotiations with Shrout to talk about creating a new permit that would allow him to keep the track open. But Shrout told FOX 4 he thinks re-negotiating would be pointless, as he still wouldn’t be able to meet their noise level restrictions.