Barring any roadblocks, I-70 Motorsports Park owner excited to restore racing to speedway

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ODESSA, Mo. -- After hitting some major roadblocks, it appears I-70 Motorsports Park will get the green light to go racing again at the old I-70 Speedway.

The dirt track has announced World of Outlaws, which bills itself as the "Greatest Show on Dirt," will be I-70's opening event in May.

I-70 Motorsports Park hoped to have a full season of racing this year for the first time since 2008, but concerns by the Lafayette County Planning Commission about noise and traffic threatened to derail the project all together.

The speedway still needs final site approval, but the owner is feeling a lot more confident this time around.

Grain Valley's Brian Brown races the World of Outlaws tour, travelling 40,000 miles to races each year at tracks in 25 states. He grew up wanting to race at I-70.

"I-70 Speedway, back in the day, was one of the most iconic dirt tracks in the world. It was kind of a daredevil track high bank and only the brave survived," Brown said.

The track was overgrown with trees in the grandstands when Chris Payne purchased it last year. He restored it to a 3/8-mile dirt oval and plans to add a 1/4-mile drag strip.

He was ready to begin major construction when the planning commission detailed necessary changes for a conditional permit that included 3.5 miles of fencing.

"There were certain people at the county that was adamant about delay after delay. All that did was just cost us and the taxpayers," Payne said.

After losing the 2019 season, Lafayette County Commissioners recently gave Payne a thumbs up on the motorsports park without the conditions laid out by that other board.

However the final site plan will go back to the Lafayette County Planning and Economic Development Commission for a public hearing on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

"It definitely was a challenge, one that we wasn't sure we were going to get through, but we did," Payne said.

Crews already have restored the old I-70 Speedway sign and are starting other work to get ready for racing.

"To have one 10 miles away at a track I grew up going to on Sunday nights with my grandparents and uncles and things like that -- I'm over the moon excited about it," Browns said.

No formal plans have been announced for the rest of the season. Payne said he plans to have monthly races on the dirt track and weekly events at the drag strip.

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