Photos by Alex Mailes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Kansas Speedway 400 Speedway Boulevard Kansas City, KS 66111
Year Opened: 2001
Speedin’ in Kansas
The Kansas Speedway is one of the premier racetracks in the Midwest, hosting four major NASCAR events annually. The International Speedway Corporation funded the construction of the $380 million facility in 1999 to improve stock car racing’s popularity in the Kansas and Missouri area. The arena boasts a 1.5-mile oval track with a 64,000-fan capacity, and the Hollywood Casino located on the premises.
Initially, the Kansas Speedway mostly held smaller races such as the Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300, and a few Kansas 100 events when it first opened in 2001. The track has since moved on to bigger competitions like the United Cup Series and the Indy Lights Series, and now hosts the NASCAR Cup Playoffs and Xfinity Series.
Food & Beverage 3
Patrons are allowed to bring their own food and drinks into the stadium, which is a huge plus!
The concessions available at the speedway are about what’s expected with some local options to spice things up. You can get your standard game day fare, such as cheeseburgers ($8), hot dogs ($7), and nachos ($7), from one of the many Grill locations. Pulled pork ($12), ribs ($15) and more are available from the Speedway Smokehouse as well as Chuckies Famous breaded pork tenderloin. Bottled water ($3) and Pepsi products ($4) are available from the Octane Saloon along with cocktails ($10) and beer ($8).
The offerings at the track are limited. It is nice to have some local Kansas City BBQ available, but there aren’t any unique or must have items. The prices are like what you would find at other venues. If you get hungry during the race, you have options, but they’re nothing special.
The main entrance to the track is directly behind the stands, with all the major concessions being underneath the seating bowls facing the track. VIP guests park in the infield and can hang out around the pit road and garage before the race. The stands themselves are on the east side and are divided into three major sections.
They circle the eastern edge of the track, and each have 65 rows of seats. The VIP boxes and press suites sit about the central bleachers and continue up for another four stories. The top 15 driver positions are posted on a tower located in the middle of the infield with the rest of the standings being available on screens near the stadium entrance.
There’s not a lot of extra fluff to the raceday experience. Live music, promotions and driver interviews are all done before or after the race. Once the green flag has been waved, there aren’t any distractions from what’s happening on the track. The only thing you can hear during the race is the sound of the engines as the drivers whiz by. Noise levels near the track can reach 130 decibels, so ear protection is recommended.
The Speedway offers a pure NASCAR experience. The pit road and garage are all easily seen from the stands so fans can see the crews in action. If you want a little more variety, you can come early or stay after, but if you only want to see the race, the Kansas Speedway won’t get in the way.
The Kansas Speedway is in Kansas City, Kansas and sits less than 1 mile off I-435. It’s near Nebraska Furniture Mart, Cabela’s, and The Legends shopping district. There are some restaurants nearby, including Denny’s Bar and Grill, Famous Dave’s Barbeque, and several major chains.
For those looking for some more entertainment after the race, the track is directly across from Sporting KC Football Club and the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park. Several lodging options are available within 2 miles of the stadium with the most economical options being the Country Inn and Homewood Suites.
The track’s location has plenty of shopping outlets, lodging, and a few other big attractions, but is lacking in unique local restaurants. Overall, if you want something to do after the game, there are options, but you’ll have to drive for better food.
The average race day turnout for 2021 is 48,000, which is average for a racetrack of this size. Many fans showed up hours before the race to see the garage and pit areas as well as the drivers with their crews. The stands also stayed full till the end, despite there being two weather delays and a few too many caution periods. NASCAR is known to have a dedicated fan base and the Kansas Speedway is no exception.
The track is less than 1 mile from the nearest I-435 exit and is less than a 30-minute drive from the Kansas City International Airport. Public Transportation is available and will take you directly to the arena. Once inside the seating area, getting to the concessions, main gate and restrooms is usually easy from all sections of the seating area since they are all located directly behind the bleachers.
Return on Investment 3
General admission costs vary depending on the seating, but prices range from $25-$60 with season passes going for $270-$330 depending on the package. Free parking is available in the grass lot in front of the stadium on a first-come first-serve basis. This is about average cost for most NASCAR events.
The Hollywood Casino located on stadium grounds is billed as one of the biggest draws to the track. It boasts 2000 slots, 50 gaming tables and 5 unique restaurants and is consistently rated as one of the best casinos in the Kansas City area.
Fans can also visit the garage and pit areas and hang around the pit crews. There is live music before the races and usually some kind of athlete promotion, like Driver’s Honoring Cancer Hero’s. There’s also the eNASCAR gaming truck, an 80-foot long, 350-ton gaming rig where fans can try their hand at the iRacing simulator.
Kids can play at the Kids Zone fueled by Adventure Force, which includes a chance to feel what it’s like to ride with a racer in their New Champion Race Ride-on promotion, meet a driver, and the Crash Racers Track.
Plenty of extra things are available outside of the main event that most sporting venues can’t match and might serve as one of the biggest draws to the stadium.
The Kansas Speedway has a lot to offer on and off the track. If you’re staying the weekend, the Hollywood Casino has plenty to do, and there are plenty of activities for kids before the race. If you want some local flavor, you will have to drive, and the concession stands should probably be avoided. A pure NASCAR experience is offered here, and a trip to the Kansas Speedway is certainly worth it.