Drag Racers and Enthusiasts. . .Lend us your thoughts
Being from Onawa, I along with others here, are often asked "What about the NHRA Project near Onawa. . .Well here's what I know about it!! Thought it might stir some interest in the forums, maybe not. Either way, It would be nice to have a quality NHRA facility somewhere close by (Lincoln, Onawa, Anywhere) and I (olskool31coupe) wish those pushing for a track in this area all the best for success.
That said. . .
There's been a real push on lately to get a new NHRA facility in the Lincoln area. A project to do the very same thing was underway in Onawa, Iowa a decade ago. . .and had owners/ promoters of existing facilities at that time extremely nervous. Forced one former promoter back to NHRA on his knees after going to IHRA in an attempt to save his track, which he would sell a short time later.
The sad thing is, this project was given the greenlight by NHRA and was going to be built by the Omaha Indian Tribe near Onawa, until a lawsuit over management of their gambling Casino spelled the end of funds for the project. . .to the tune of $11 million.
The total project cost at the Onawa Casino in '96 was $14 million for a quality, 4,300 ft. track grandstand seating for 3,500 to start, and all the other related facilities needed (i.e. timing tower, track maintenance vehicles, concession stands, restrooms, etc. It also had big rig parking (hard surface) for 84 semis).
The project also included a Travel Plaza/Convenience Mart that was to include a fast food restaurant in one end, a modern RV Campground, 18-hole Golf Course, 600 seat Convention Center/Concert/Bingo Hall, and a 120-Unit Hotel. . .in short, an entire entertainment complex.
For those of you who don't remember, a Ground Breaking Ceremony was actually held in October of that year with over 600 racers and enthusiasts bringing vehicles to the Car Show in the Casino Parking Lot. There was television and radio coverage from Sioux City to Omaha. . .it was a huge affair and very successful, attracting racers and enthusiasts from Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado and elsewhere. You had to be there!!
Shortly after this event, the skirmish with the management company began, and although construction had already begun on the Travel Plaza, it was not awarded to a General Contractor, but rather bid at 'time and materials'. . .as a result, the $1.5 million Travel Plaza that was part of the $14 million overall project ended up costing the Tribe $3 million.
Add to this the $11 million it cost them to get out of contract with their management company three years early, and you can see where the money for this project went at that time. Sad, because by now it would have been paid for in spades!!
The current project is receiving unfavorable scruitiny by the Lancaster Board of Commissioners for a 187 acre (I was told) stretch of ground just north and east of Lincoln.
NHRA always told the local project that it would take a minimum of 300 acres for a quality facility. There are engineering drawings in possession here, up-to-date construction bids, and a signed contract from NHRA complex here. . .and available ground in the area for a quality, state-of-the-art NHRA facility with a 4,300 ft. long track to be able to host the 330+ mph cars currently running the NHRA National Circuit. What's better yet, the project here is still viable, just needing investors to get it done.
It appears that a lot of time and effort is being exerted to fight the Lancaster County Commissioners when time could perhaps be better spent going in on this project near Onawa? A lot less fight and a better facility. From what we've heard, the location by Davey isn't going to provide much better access than at Scribner, so for all the trouble, you'll probably have the same hassles and complaints you had at Scribner over the years. . .with a school and cemetery in close proximity, probably more.
Check out the Onawa project information at:
and get on this project in Onawa.
After seeing your enthusiasm at the Lincoln Swap Meet, it's clear that if you had fought like that for the track here in Onawa, it would have been built years ago.
Despite what some people will tell you, the Onawa track proposal was and is NOT a pipedream and is NOT dead. It almost happened once, except for the aforementioned management dispute, which depleted funding at that time. $2 million dollars had actually been pledged by a couple investors just two short years ago, then one passed away suddenly, causing the other investor to back out. Bad luck, not a bad project!! It's a long and complicated story.
I for one would invite racers and enthusiasts to work toward this end if your are unsuccessful near Lincoln. . .or not!! Better yet, let's challenge them, as this project will work here, and everything is already in place, including County and City Support for the project.
You want a drag strip in this area? Then you want a quality facility, not more of what all of us have been complaining about for so many years. We're only gonna get one chance at this, so it needs to be done right, the first time to be successful.
Money aside, YOU and I as racers and enthusiasts do have the power to make this project happen. . .remember, it's usually not how much, but who you know that can make things happen.
Your support would be greatly appreciated either way, but you have to weigh the benefits and disadvantages of both.
Got something you want to discuss? Looking for advice? Or, just want to catch up on what’s happening? Join our forum and post and reply to topics on General Discussion, and more...