Race fans continue to push for relocating Kansas City International Raceway so that metro-area businesses that support drag racing can continue to thrive. The citizens commission on municipal revenue will discuss how shutting down KCIR may affect employers on Tuesday night.
They will also address whether Kansas City should work to develop a larger motor sports park as an alternative. About 1/3 of the aluminum wheels produced at Weld Racing are sold to drag racers.
Even though the business sells its wheels all around the world, the loss of even one drag racing track concerns workers at Weld because its customers need places where they can rev their engines.
"We can't have too many racetracks," said Kyle Fickler. "We lost lakeside this year due to the flood. Now, we losing KCIR. From a business standpoint that's very difficult. Guys don't like to travel. Economic conditions are tougher than they've been in a number of years and they want to stay closer to home. Certainly that was the flavor or KCIR. It was a homegrown racetrack."
Fickler says there are lots of other businesses in Kansas City that rely on the racing industry as their livelihood. The sale of KCIR is causing race fans in the city to push of a motorsports park to be built that would help they city cash in on the $50 billion motor sports industry.
"Enhance the opportunity to build bigger, better motor sports attraction in years to come," said Todd Bridges. "The park can be put there, economy should be recovered, and economic development in little blue valley district and residential area can happen. So, there's a win win solution out there for everybody."
While many businesses have struggled in the last two years, Weld Racing actually has hired eight or nine additional workers and employs a total of 55 people. Fickler believes if Kansas City embraces racing the way Indianapolis and Charlotte have, a new raceway will bring in even more race-based manufacturers.