Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Former Kansas City International Raceway owners slam brakes on finding new location

The search for a new home for the KCIR has yet to get in gear.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Todd Bridges and Race to the Future havent given up replacing KCIR.
  • Bethany Day
  • Todd Bridges and Race to the Future haven't given up replacing KCIR.

Kansas City International Raceway's 45th year would be revving up, had the track's ownership group, NP3 Racing LLC, not sold the drag strip three months ago to the city of Kansas City. At the time of the sale, angry racers accused NP3 of selling out the city's drag-racing heritage for a quick buck. (NP3 sold the track on Noland Road for $1.55 million.)

NP3 investor Rob Park tried to calm his detractors with claims that he and his partners were looking for a new location to race near Kansas City. "There are a lot of places that want us," Park told The Pitch in December, "just not Kansas City." (Park didn't return a request for comment for this story.)

NP3 has apparently given up on the racing business, however, to invest in a retirement home in Raytown.
In February, investor Christopher Payne paid $1.2 million through NP3 for the Bowen Apartments, a senior-living complex for people aged 55 and older on Raytown Road.

Payne then transferred the apartment building to his holding company, Monopoly Acquisitions. Through Monopoly, Payne also bought two struggling Raytown strip malls - Blue Ridge Plaza and Raytown Plaza - in March.
Payne and his wife, Stacey, told the Raytown Times that reinvesting the money from KCIR's sale in the suburb was a necessity.

"When it seemed certain that the KCIR owners would be unable to develop a drag strip elsewhere, the Paynes decided to invest in Raytown," the newspaper reported. "Because of tax consequences they needed to put money from the KCIR sale into good real estate investments."

While NP3 appears to have given up on building a new racetrack, former KCIR mana-ger Todd Bridges hasn't. Bridges is leading a party of racers and investors called Race to the Future to find a new racing spot.

"Johnson, Cass and Lafayette [counties] have all said, 'Hey, we would like for it to come here,' " Bridges tells The Pitch. "We're trying to find the best location and the best opportunity to get the thing pushed through the political side of things."

Bridges says the counties in talks with his group don't want the locations under consideration revealed yet.
Perhaps learning a lesson from the backlash against NP3's handling of the KCIR sale, Bridges says Race to the Future is trying to attract as many investors as possible.

"We're taking a coalition approach," Bridges says. "We all believe that the old days of a couple of people getting together and saying, 'I'm going to build a racetrack,' are [past]."

Race to the Future's volunteers are raising money by selling bricks jackhammered from KCIR's starting line. But Bridges has no delusions about how soon racers will get to lay rubber on a new track.

"Obviously, we'd like to try to figure out a way to be racing in 2013," he says. "Every day that ticks by makes that more of a challenge. And I think it's going to, somewhat, come down to the counties, cities, whatever and how much they can help."

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