KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The green flag finally waved Friday night on the racing season at Lakeside Speedway.
Racing had been delayed by three separate floods that covered parts of the track by more than 10 feet of water. But this year marked the track’s 65th straight year of racing, and staff were determined not to miss it.
"Flood No. 1 was bad; flood No. 2 was devastating; flood No. 3 was exhausting," Lakeside Speedway General Manager Pete Howey said.
Those three floods took place in the matter of three months between March and June. The second, just eight days before Lakeside Speedway owners thought things had dried out enough to go racing.
The track's 12-foot-high back wall completely under water was a sad sight for 14-year-old DJ Barnes hoping to race the track for the second time in his young career.
"I just saw on Facebook how bad they were flooded, and they were flooded pretty bad -- and then they got flooded again," Barnes said.
"It was horrible. You look at the light poles out here, you can see how high the water was. It was unbelievable," fellow driver Daniel Harris said.
The track went through floods in 1993 and 2011 and never missed an entire season.
"I was bound and determined to get this place open and keep the tradition going," Howey said.
On Friday, 113 racing teams showed up for the season opener, and fans packed Lakeside for the August opening.
"Glad they got it all dried out. Let's go racing boys," Lloyd Cox cheered as he went through the gates.
"It`s just unbelievable we get to race period," Harris said.
Because of the season's late start, Lakeside has extended racing an extra month into October.