by John Unrein
We all have our own reasons as to why we enjoy racing. It could be the unmistakable sight of a driver navigating a turn only to slingshot past an opponent on the straightaway. Perhaps it is the smell of burning motor oil or concession stand hot dogs. Maybe the loud crackle in our ears upon engines starting up is what got us hooked. Whatever the motivation, racing is set to begin again at Valley Speedway for the 2021 season.
Dennis Shrout has a labor of love he engages in each year from early spring to late fall. The owner of Valley Speedway at 348 East Old US 40 Highway in Grain Valley has a lot on his plate as March ends and April begins. Shrout’s mind wanders from how many cars are finished and ready to race, to is all the necessary equipment ready for the season to start. The efforts continue in making sure staff is hired along with preparing food and beverage for the opening points race night on April 3rd before praying that mother nature smiles on everyone.
Shrout would not have it any other way as racing resumes for families to enjoy in Eastern Jackson County.
“In addition to our points racing schedule, we have five specials that include race teams from 20 states. We also do a monster truck show, two demolition derbies, and a three mile fitness course for the ladies called the Muddy Princess,” Shrout said.
“We are also working on a Swap and Shop program that will include food trucks, hayrides, a bounce house, and walking trails. We continue working on a paintball project that will have people riding in buses around a course with targets set up.”
Shrout concluded, “All of our programs are set up to be events for the entire family to enjoy. We are always working on new projects to utilize the facility.”
The Oil Pressure racing website asked readers in 2019 why they chose to attend their local racetracks on race days. There were four popular answers that continually showed up in responses. The most common response was getting out of the house to enjoy doing something outside. That was followed by cheering for a favorite driver or event sponsored at the racetrack. Third was introducing the sport of racing or passing it on to a younger generation. The final universal response rounding out replies was “date night”.
NASCAR racing is the fastest growing sport in terms of popularity in the United States. This can be attributed to the rules for racing being fairly easy to understand as well as fans relating well to drivers. Many NASCAR drivers started on a local dirt track like Valley Speedway and come from typical upbringings. Racing continues to become part of the American fabric, much like football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer.
A night of local racing awaits those yearning for the competition of speed at Valley Speedway.
For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit www.valleyspeedway.com.
Photo credit: Valley Speedway