Nebraska Raceway Park
|Location||Cass County, at 14200 238th St Greenwood, NE 68366|
|Owner||Land Developers Inc.|
|Major events||Silver Dollar Nationals, Casey's Midwest Fall Brawl, Cornhusker Classic|
|Length||4/10 mi (0.6 km)|
|Banking||Turns - N/A
Straights - N/A
Nebraska Raceway Park is a multiuse racing facility in southeastern Nebraska near Greenwood, Nebraska. Located approximately halfway between Omaha, and Lincoln, Nebraska, the facility is able to draw spectators and race teams from both metropolitan areas.
The track is near the interchange of Interstate 80 and Nebraska Highway 63 at exit 420. The facility features the I-80 Speedway, and The Little Sunset Speedway. I-80 Speedway boasts an extra pit area on the outside of the back straightaway. With space for over 200 cars, the track easily handles large special events. The grandstands can handle 6000 race fans. The Little Sunset Speedway has a pit area large enough to accommodate over 200 karts, and seating for 500 spectators.
I-80 Speedway, a 4/10ths mile banked dirt track which hosts NASCAR sanctioned weekly stock car racing. Several special events are also part of every season, including the Silver Dollar Nationals, and the Casey's Midwest Fall Brawl. The Silver Dollar Nationals is a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and Lucas Oil MLRA sanctioned event for touring Super Late Models. The event features the largest purse for any stock car race ever held in the state of Nebraska. This race also showcases the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) as the support division. The Casey's Midwest Fall Brawl is a Lucas Oil ASCS National Series 360 Sprint Car event. Casey's General Stores is the primary sponsor for the event. The race weekend also includes the "Double Down, Back to Back Challenge". A $50,000 bonus is paid to the driver who can win both feature events over the weekend.
The Little Sunset Speedway is a 1/5th mile dirt kart racing track aimed at family racing entertainment. Built as a scale replica of the former Sunset Speedway in Omaha, Nebraska, the track is the entry to dirt track racing for young drivers looking to make their way up the ladder of short track motorsports. Several of the drivers who regularly race at the I-80 Speedway, began their careers at The Little Sunset Speedway. Several special events at the kart track are also part of the season.
Originally built in 1994 as I-80 Speedway under the ownership of Omaha businessman and race fan Rich Bellino, the track was sold in 2001 to Sioux City, Iowa businessman Ted Carlson, who also owned Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, South Dakota. The facility was renamed The Nebraska Raceway Park. At the time of the sale, Craig Kelley was hired as the General Manager. Kelley was the former owner and General Manager of the recently closed Sunset Speedway in Omaha. Subsequently, Kelley took with him the NASCAR sanctioning that Sunset Speedway had enjoyed since 1982. At this time, the pit area was moved to inside the dirt oval, as opposed to the former pit area located outside of turn one since the facilities inception. The former pit area was repurposed for additional spectator parking.
In 2004, Carlson sold the entire facility to a group of race drivers who had enjoyed their careers at several race tracks throughout the Plains. The new ownership group included The Kosiski brothers, Joe, Steve, and Ed. As well as John Schwartz, and Mike Merrill. When the new owners took over the facility, the day before the start of the 2004 racing season, plans had been put into motion to upgrade the entire facility and improve the fan experience. For 2005, a Motocross facility was added, called the Soaring Edge Motocross Park, and The Little Sunset Speedway was added. Also new was a name change for the facility. The entire facility was named Nebraska Raceway Park, but each separate venue had its own identity. The 4/10th's mile dirt track was renamed The I-80 Speedway, throwing back to its original name from 1994. Several private decks were added to the bleacher sections of the main grandstands to give fans who purchased the deck space, a guaranteed seat at all events at the I-80 Speedway. A children's play area was also constructed just to the Southeast side of the main grandstands. Concession areas were also upgraded and modernized. New handicapped accessible seating areas were constructed to better serve fans with disabilities. In 2010, the Soaring Edge Motocross Park was closed due to lack of attendance and operating costs, and the land repurposed for SCCA RallyCross events.
The I-80 Speedway has played host to several special events since its inception, including the ARCA Series event in 1995, one of only 4 dirt track events that year, and the only on a track shorter than 1 mile, for the ARCA series. Also playing host to the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, World of Outlaws sprint cars, USMTS modifieds, the UMP Summernationals for Super Late Models, the Lucas Oil ASCS sprint cars, the now defunct NASCAR O'Reilly's All Star Series for Late Models (formerly the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour)the now defunct World Dirt Racing League (WDRL) Super Late Models, the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA), the National Championship Racing Association [NCRA] sprint cars and late models, the now defunct Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA), as well as several other forms of motorsports including flat track motorcycle racing and monster truck racing.
Several NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers have also made appearances at the facility. Kyle Petty, during his charity motorcycle ride, made a stop on his tour in 2002, with drivers Steve Park, and Ken Schrader. Kenny Wallace, Carl Edwards, and Clint Bowyer have also made appearances at the venue. Carl Edwards was injured while driving a Super Late Model at the track which led to Edwards needing a relief driver at the next NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Edwards broke his hand when he was involved in a multi-car crash on the back straight of I-80 Speedway.
Tragedy struck the facility in September 1999 when World of Outlaws sprint car driver, Kevin Gobrecht, died of his injuries sustained in a crash at the track during the World of Outlaws feature event. His death remains the only at the facility in its 21 years of operation.
Extreme sports stars
Former AMA Supercross Lites Champion, freestyle motocross rider and all around Extreme sports star, Travis Pastrana made an appearance in 2009 for the taping of his extreme reality TV show, Nitro Circus. Pastrana and his band of extreme sports stars drove Dirt Late Models in an exhibition race pitting them against some of the regular drivers at I-80 Speedway. Pastrana played a part in a mock "fight" between himself and local driver Kortney Kosiski. Pastrana spun out Kosiski on the track during the race, and she decided to enact a little revenge by seeking out Pastrana after the race and feigned an attack while Pastrana was unbuckling from the car he was driving. For the remainder of the event, Pastrana was known as the guy who had to be protected from the girl racer.
Continuing the tradition
I-80 Speedway will open its 21st year of continuous operation in April 2015, once again featuring the dare devils of the area and perpetuating the dreams of stock car stardom for young drivers in the state of Nebraska. Racing resumes on Friday nights under the NASCAR Whelen All American Series sanctioning featuring Super Late Models, Modifieds, Grand National Late Models, B-Modifieds, ProAm Street Stocks, and 4-cylinder Hornets.