Hill wins Kansas 200 at Kansas Speedway

Austin Hill won the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series Kansas 200 on Friday, July 24, at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire, Getty Images)
The winner of the NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400 on Thursday night, July 23, was Denny Hamlin, who celebrated with a turnout. (Photo by Jamie Squire, Getty Images)

Austin Hill won his first victory of the season and a playoff spot on Friday night at the Gander truck series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Hill took the lead from Brett Moffitt and led from laps 96 to 134.

The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 on Friday was Hill’s best finish of the season. He was the truck series leader for seven weeks.

Fans are currently not allowed at Kansas Speedway to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In other Friday night action at Kansas Speedway, Bret Holmes won his first career victory in the ARCA Menards contest.

Holmes, 23, finished in front of Ryan Repko, who took second place.

On Saturday, the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will take place at 12:30 p.m. and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 250 is scheduled at 4 p.m. Both races will be run without fans.

The Gander race will be on FS1 cable, and the Xfinity race will be on NBCSN cable.

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self will serve as grand marshal of the Xfinity race.

Wichita singer Chris Mann will perform the national anthem virtually before the Xfinity race. Mann previously appeared on The Voice in 2012.

Lack of fans at Speedway races to have significant economic impact

by Mary Rupert

The lack of fans in the stands this week at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, is expected to have a significant impact on the local and state economy.

Fans were not allowed at the Kansas Speedway this week, including the NASCAR Cup Series race on Thursday night, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

A 2008 study estimated the Kansas Speedway produced a $243 million effect on the local economy, creating an estimated 5,000 jobs. A 2010 news release from the Unified Government estimated one race weekend had a $100 million economic impact on the Kansas City metro area.

Bridgette Jobe, Kansas director of tourism, said that not having fans attending races at the Speedway has an effect on the local and state economy. There are still some positives in the situation, however, she said.

“Hotels, restaurants, shopping venues in the Kansas City region all benefit from the thousands of fans who arrive in Kansas City, Kansas, for a race weekend,” Jobe said. “Communities from across the state will also be negatively impacted as travelers will not be stopping in their communities as they are driving to and from the races.

“The positive is that we still have the race teams in Kansas City, Kansas, staying in our hotels and enjoying the KCK amenities,” Jobe said.

Kansas Tourism completely supports NASCAR and Kansas Speedway in their efforts to keep Kansans and visitors safe, she added.

“And I know that the tourism industry will recover from this pandemic,” Jobe said. “We are seeing signs of travel returning, but it will look at little different in the near future.”

Travelers are staying closer to home and looking for wide-open space where they can physically distance, she said.

“I encourage all visitors to travel safely and responsibly and look forward to welcoming race fans to Kansas in the future,” Jobe said.

Greg Kindle, president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, said the Kansas Speedway is one of the primary importers of tourism into the Kansas City metro area every year, bringing in about $250 million every year, and having a large effect on hotels and restaurants.

Others affected in Wyandotte County include Sporting KC, which also has not been able to play games here with fans.

The racetrack brings in the lion’s share of folks from outside the region, Kindle said. It’s the one sports event in the metropolitan area that nets out far more people who don’t live here than do.

It would be almost impossible to replace the lost revenue from the Speedway not having fans, he added.

Besides tourism, retail sales are another area that has seen a decline. The Unified Government stated during the recent budget meetings that they were seeing a decline in retail sales tax revenues.

Kindle said it is fortunate that, although some sectors are seeing a decline, they are continuing to see an interest in ecommerce. Property taxes are still coming in, and some areas may continue to provide jobs for those who have been in the service economy.

“We have over 5,000 jobs available in Wyandotte County today, despite the pandemic,” Kindle said. “It’s fortunate that we are a diverse economy.”

While there has been a big hit to the economy, there also is a diverse mixture of commerce to help withstand the pandemic.

Hamlin wins Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway

Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag Thursday night at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Fans were not allowed to attend the NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400 race because of the risk of COVID-19.

The race was marked by a serious collision involving Ryan Preece on lap 181. His car flew through the air after a crash involving Christopher Bell, and Preece was able to walk away.

Brad Keselowski placed second in the race, with Martin Truex Jr. third. The top 10 was rounded out by Kevin Harvick, fourth; Erik Jones, fifth; Aric Almirola, sixth; Cole Custer, seventh; Alex Bowman, eighth; Kurt Busch, ninth; and William Byron, 10th.

Racing continues at Kansas Speedway on Friday and Saturday. Fans are not allowed at the speedway. The remaining schedule:

• Friday, July 24, 6 p.m., NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series Kansas 200 (200 miles), FS1 channel.
• Friday, July 24, 9 p.m., ARCA Menards Series Dawn 150 (150 miles), FS1 channel.
• Saturday, July 25, 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series Kansas 200 (200 miles), FS1 channel.
• Saturday, July 25, 4 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 250 (250 miles), NBCSN channel.