Sprint Car
Wednesday, 26 August 2020


USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association Sprint Car point leader, Don Droud Jr. (Lincoln, Neb.) USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association Sprint Car point leader, Don Droud Jr. (Lincoln, Neb.) Ray Hague Photo


By: Ray Cunningham

After rain spoiled the fun earlier this summer, the USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association Sprint Cars return this Friday night August 28th for the Weld Memorial at Lakeside Speedway in KCK.

The tradition, and the history, of the Welds racing at Lakeside goes back to the days of the original facility at 92nd and Leavenworth RD starting almost 60 years ago. During those days father Pappy “Taylor” Weld and his sons Jerry, Greg, and Kenny, would all compete there in super modified competition. While in the 1970’s, youngest brother Ricky would join the fray in supers and sprints.

Over the decades the racing Welds would win track titles at Lakeside with both Jerry and Greg behind the wheel in the 1960’s, while also becoming racing superstars throughout the USA in Modified, Super Modified, and Sprint Car Competition, with clubs that included, IMCA, BCRA, USAC, and WoO.

The Weld Racing legacy started in the 1930’s with father Pappy building and owning a midget raced by Chester White at Olympic Stadium.

Later Pappy and his wife Ella would start a family that by the 1950’s included the four boys, and sisters Dee and Mary Jo.

In that decade Jerry would become the first of the Weld Boys to become a racing star winning back to back jalopy modified titles at Riverside Stadium in 1956-57 with his revolutionary car dubbed “The Flying Suitcase”. While also taking super modified titles at Olympic and Lakeside in the 1960’s.

Jerry “Butch” Weld would further bolster his racing resume running across the nation in supers and sprints, before curtailing his racing endeavors to raise a family, and promote at the Mid America Fairgrounds in Topeka.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s both Greg Weld and Kenny Weld would become super modified and sprint car racing stars running locally and across the nation as well. Greg would win the Knoxville Nationals as a teenager in 1963, followed by his younger brother Kenny in 1964-65 driving for his dad in the super modified known as the “Tank”.

Each brother would go his own way in the mid 1960’s with Greg going to USAC, and Kenny moving to Pennsylvania to race with the “Posse”. In 1967 Greg would win the USAC Sprint Car Title after finishing second to Johnny Rutherford for the championship in 1965 at age 21. While Kenny would become imbedded as racing star in winged sprint car competition in the Key Stone State.

In 1970 Greg would make the field at Indy, before slowly tapering off his career as driver to run his company Weld Wheels, while also becoming a promoter. Meanwhile brother Kenny would team up with Bob Weikert to win two more Knoxville Nationals in 1972-73, while also setting winged sprint car racing on edge with his rivalry against Jan Opperman driving the Bogar #99 to determine who was the greatest outlaw of that time period.

Both brothers would come together to race against each other one more time at the old Lakeside Stadium in 1973 driving for Weikert in team cars. The event was the first annual “Jerry Weld Memorial”  in honor of the oldest Weld brother who lost his life after being hit by a car at age 33. That first Weld Memorial also featured drivers that included Opperman, Rick Ferkel, Junior Parkinson, and Bobby Allen among others, while Kenny would win the event after brother Greg pulled out with mechanical issues.

From 1973-1980 the Jerry Weld Memorial would be held at Lakeside Speedway on and off as both a one day, and a (two day event with a overall champ) with winners Kenny Weld (twice), Bubby Jones, Sammy Swindell, and Jerry Stone.

From 1981-1985 the race would continue to be run at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri when Greg Weld took over the promotions there, as the paved 1/2 Mile became a dirt track during that time.

Over its run at I-70, Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell (twice), Doug Wolfgang, and Brad Doty would win this prestigious event as it transitioned from the Jerry Weld, to the Weld Memorial after the passing of Pappy in 1983. Followed by the untimely deaths of Kenny in 1997, and Greg as well as Ricky in 2008. With all three Weld brothers passing away from Cancer related issues during that time.

In 2020 the Weld Memorial is back at the new Lakeside to honor and remember this great American Family from Kansas City who meant so much locally, and nationally, over the years to auto racing.

Coming back to the new Lakeside facility to race this traditional and historic event was a no brainer for USAC Midwest Headman Raul Romero. Who has worked with the Weld Family, Including Jerry’s daughter Linda Weld throughout the process to make sure the Weld Racing Legacy, and history is properly noted before, during, and after the Weld Memorial Race for 2020.

A full field of USAC Midwest Wingless Sprint drivers and cars will be on hand vying for the top prize of $2,500. While a very competitive and close point battle ensues during the 2020 Midwest Series campaign going down to the wire with 3 races left on the docket.

After a great run coming from 11th to 4th last  Friday at US 36, Lincoln’s Don Droud Jr. held on to his point lead in the USAC series driving the Mark Burch #1m. Droud was also the winner at Lakeside the first time the MWRA came to the 4/10 Mile Dirt Track in June winning over Wyatt Burks, Quinton Benson, Chris Parkinson, and Todd McVay in the 24 car, 25 lap feature.

Nipping at Don’s heals for the MWRA point lead is Wesley Smith from Nixa, Mo. driving the Helm Racing #12. Smith, a winner at Bethany in June, trails Droud by just 30 points after finishing 3rd at US 36 last weekend. And has won 3 times in non-winged sprints in 2020.

Wyatt Burks “The Sheriff” from Topeka, Kansas, driving the Don Rumsey 11w currently sits third place in points in the Midwest Wingless Series after winning his 5th race of the season in the club, and his 7th overall last Friday night at US 36. The Jayhawker trails Droud by 35 points in the race for the title and is just 5 points back from second place Smith.

Former non winged sprint car champ Chris Parkinson is very much in the hunt for the title as well trailing point leader Droud by only 45 markers. The 3rd generation racer from Gladstone has been very consistent all season long in his number #65 sprinter. While finishing as high second in MWRA action at CMS Speedway in Warrensburg on July 25th.

Join the fun this Friday night August 28th in KCK to honor the first family of racing in Kansas City, The Welds. While also seeing exciting non winged sprint car racing among other classes at one of the Heartlands Premier Dirt Tracks, Lakeside Speedway.

The event also features B-Modifieds, Mod Lites, Stock Cars and E-Modifieds.  Pits open at 5pm CT, with spectator gates opening at 6pm, the drivers meeting at 7pm and hot laps at 7:15pm with racing to follow.

General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Military/Seniors (62+), $6 for Juniors ages 12-15 and free for kids 11 & under.  Suite tickets are $25 for ages 13 and older, $10 for kids age 2-12 and free for children age one and under.

Terrace tickets are $15 for age 16 and older, $12 for Military/Seniors (62+), $8 for Juniors (12-15) and free for age 11 and under.

Pit passes are $35 for ages 7 or older and $15 for children age 6 and under.