I-70 Speedway

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I-70 Speedway
Location Washington Township, Lafayette County, at 12773 North Outer Rd., Odessa, Missouri
Opened 1969
Closed 2009
Major events Craftsman Truck Series
1/2 Mile Asphalt Oval
Length 0.54 mi (0.87 km)
Banking 30° (corners), 4° (front), 7° (back)

I-70 Speedway was a racetrack near Interstate 70 east of Odessa, Missouri, USA. The track opened in 1969 and was open every year until it closed in 2008. It was built and owned by Bill Roberts who, along with partners, had previously built and owned KCIR Dragstrip on Noland Road in Kansas City, Missouri.

The track hosted NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races from 1995 to 1999. In 2006, a new 3/8 dirt track was built on the site. The asphalt track is a long 1/2 mile (0.54 mi) with high 30-degree banking in the turns. The back stretch has a small dog-leg. It is regarded as one of the fastest and highest banked short tracks in the nation. When the track was being built, in the late sixties, a crane was used to pave the turns from outside the retaining wall because nothing was capable of paving embankments that high at the time. It was also one of the first tracks to feature a very early version of the soft-wall. During a World Cup race in the early 1990s huge styrofoam blocks were placed high along the retaining wall in all the turns. All-Pro Series driver, and former NASCAR Rookie of the Year, Jody Ridley hit one of the blocks which sent him airborne over the wall in turn four upside down. Ridley walked away from the wreck, but that style of soft wall was only used in a few more races at I-70. I-70 is also one of the few race tracks that offers individual bucket seating for fans instead of bleachers. This unique style of race track seating was designed by Bill Roberts and his good friend Louis Noland.

Mr. Roberts sold the track to Mr. Weld (of Weld Racing Wheel fame) sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s (?). Weld turned the track into a dirt track. Late in 1989 Roberts, who had continued holding the note on the track, repossessed I-70 from Weld. Then Mr. Roberts, along with sons Dennis and Randy, turned the track back to asphalt and got it NASCAR sanctioned. On another interesting[citation needed] note, Roberts' other son Dan, who was a Kansas City area country music DJ on KFKF 94.1 FM and long-time announcer at Arrowhead stadium, got his start in sports broadcasting at I-70.

I-70 was the "home" track of many famous drivers such as Rusty Wallace, Clint Bowyer, and perhaps the best short track driver of all-time Larry Phillips who won five Short Track National Championships and well over 2,000 confirmed feature wins. (However, some estimates are much higher than that at around 2,500. In the early days many local race tracks didn't keep records past the end of a season and what records were kept were often lost or simply thrown away over the years). James Ince, who was Larry Phillips crew chief and later a NASCAR Crew Chief of the Year with Johnny Benson Jr., also started his career at I-70. Other notable drivers who had driven there (not all of them on a full-time basis) included: Mark Martin, Butch Miller, Bob Senneker, Dick Trickle, Mike Eddy, Johnny Benson Jr., Jamie McMurray, John O'Neal Jr., Terry Bivins, Jenny White, Jennifer Jo Cobb and many others. Famous short track driver Joe Shear once held the 4 barrel Late Model track record. Adam Petty, grandson of Richard Petty, once won an ASA race at I-70.

Famous actor and race car driver Paul Newman rented the race track in 1990, while he was filming in the Kansas City area, for a private practice session. He drove some of the local race cars including the 1989 Late Model Track Champion, Jay Truelove's.

Mr. Roberts sold the track to Ted Carlson sometime in the mid-1990s. Carlson later sold the track to Brad McDonald. The track has hosted stock car racing and kart racing events. It used to offer a twin-billing Saturday night dirt track and asphalt track show. The dirt track is directly behind the original asphalt facility. The major asphalt event held at the track was the World Cup. This event first featured the All-Pro series, but in later years it featured the ASA Late Model Series (formerly known as ARTGO) North vs. South Showdown.

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Coordinates: 39°0′38″N 93°52′33″W / 39.01056°N 93.87583°W / 39.01056; -93.87583