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Lakeside Speedway plans to race despite flooding

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. - In Wyandotte County, Lakeside Speedway hosts racecar enthusiasts every weekend.

After Wednesday's heavy rains, the wet conditions make it more suitable for boat races. It's a worry they're all too accustomed to enduring in KCK.

"Weather is an owner's worst nightmare," Lakeside Speedway Owner Mike Johnson said.

When heavy rain arrives in Wyandotte County, the infield of this half mile-long dirt track is the first to flood.

"It really doesn't bother me," Johnson said. "I know we'll be fine."

Johnson longs for drier conditions. He's owned Lakeside Speedway only since March, but the former driver knows too many raindrops can cost him money.

"We're sitting in a flood zone, which isn't a good thing," Johnson said. "We're at the mercy of mother nature."

And in some cases, it can be paralyzing. Mike remembers 1993, one occasion when the nearby Missouri River escaped its banks, and turned the speedway into a deep lake.

"It was two foot into the main building," Johnson recalled. "In 2011, It was about five or six rows up in the grandstands."

Mike says the speedway's schedule is often touch-and-go. 2013's slate at Lakeside has 32 dates on it. He says he'll be pleased to make two-third of them without weather-related woes.

Racing at Lakeside is a way of life for Bubba Harvey. He's one of scores of drivers who show up for the weekend racing series, bringing cars and crews of workers with them.

"We want to run every chance we get for the spectators," Harvey said.

Bubba knows decisions about cancelling races usually depends on fan support, since fans typically won't buy tickets for racing in the rain.

"It affects businesses around that supply parts for the cars," Harvey said. "You affect the owners of the track. You affect the sponsors."

"You have to be open every chance you get. It's that crucial."

Track managers are still planning for a full weekend of racing, including a big event with the World of Outlaws series on Saturday night.

Follow this link to visit Lakeside Speedway's website.

Follow this link to visit Sean McDowell's Facebook page.

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