With progress on renovations, I-70 Motorsports Park in Odessa announces May opening

ODESSA, Mo. -- I-70 Motorsports Park, former home of I-70 Speedway, is set to open with ASCS Sprint Car action on May 18.

Track owner, Chris Payne, is targeting an opening date for the drag strip 60 days later in mid-July. The new drag strip will be named Central Power Dragway.

"For the last 10 years, it's been closed. So there's a generation that hasn't even set foot on that track. There's definitely some buzz and excitement to get out there," said Todd Parker, with Forward Sports Marketing.

The famed I-70 Speedway operated in Odessa from 1969 to 2008 and was a big part of Ed Noll's childhood.

"I went to I-70 with my Dad. I was able to pack the track there, learned how to almost drive there," Noll said.

His dad drove the dirt oval, and the then-14-year-old Ed dreamed of racing it one day there, too.

"I was there every weekend," he said. "When they shut down, it was kind of a shame because I was ready for that."

The track was converted back to asphalt, like it was in the 1970s when it was home to the American Speed Association.

"I used to go watch Rusty Wallace, Bob Senneker, Mark Martin," Ken Mowery recalled.

Last summer, FOX4 was given exclusive access to film inside the abandoned speedway. Weeds grew up in cracks in the asphalt. Trees even grew in the grandstands.

On Friday, representatives from the track were at World of Wheels at the Kansas City Convention Center to let race fans know about the 3/8-mile dirt oval and 1/4-mile drag strip that are opening soon.

Noll is one of the many racing fans who's excited to race at the new track. He said dirt track cars like Sprint cars and Midgets are a lot cheaper to build -- and cheaper to repair than crashes on pavement.

He expects the changes will draw more drivers and spectators.

"Now that they are making it a smaller track, I think it's going to be a positive thing and being dirt over asphalt is definitely going to draw the people there," Noll said.

The track's new owner is the same person behind Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka.

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