Kansas Speedway

Frank Morris / KCUR

As Kansas state government braces for another round of budget cuts or tax increases (or both) to balance the state’s declining revenue, Wyandotte County is looking forward to a big jump in tax collections. That’s just part of the county’s profound, if spotty, change of fortunes.

Death spiral

Twenty years ago, Carol Marinovich became mayor of a city in steep decline. The Kansas City, Kansas she grew up in was collapsing. The house she grew up in, along with half her Strawberry Hill neighborhood, had long since been bulldozed to make way for I-70. But that was far from the worst of it. Wyandotte County seemed locked in a death spiral. 

Matt Rahner

Kansas City's new east side police station and crime lab on Prospect and 27th Street is still under construction — the campus is slated to open next year. Meanwhile, the city is still facing litigation over how the four-block area was selected for the campus, and how the people who lived there were moved to make way for the new construction.

Starting in the fall of 2012, photographer Matt Rahner documented the residents of the Wendell-Phillips neighborhood between Prospect and Brooklyn avenues and 26th and 27th streets. He wanted to capture the final months before the demolition of their homes.

Courtesy / Kansas Speedway

Night racing isn’t new at Kansas Speedway, but this weekend marks the first time it will take place there for NASCAR’s premier drivers.

Racing at night changes the dynamics in and around the speedway in Kansas City, Kan., and the races for the next two nights at Kansas Speedway have been highly anticipated by speedway officials since the approval for an installation of lights three years ago.

Speedway president Pat Warren has watched marquis drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., and his fellow competitors in Sprint Cup races and elsewhere.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup drivers are still trying to shake off the “cheating” label that has shrouded the sport  over the last month. They’ll be at Kansas Speedway for the year’s biggest entertainment weekend in Wyandotte County.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The new road course constructed within the oval at Kansas Speedway will be the site of sports car competition for the first time this weekend. Pricier models such as Porches, Ferraris and BMWs are more associated with this group of drivers compared to the more common Chevy, Ford and Toyotas on the NASCAR circuit.

And, the brand of cars isn’t the only thing different about sports car racing.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

In Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Matt Kenseth was the winning driver.  But one of the most popular figures yesterday didn't wear a racing helmet.

Tate Stevens, as an employee of the city of Belton two years ago, attended meetings at Kansas Speedway.  Wearing a cowboy hat Stevens, now 38, appeared at the track as a professional country music performer.

In a life-changing experience, Stevens was the winner last year in season two of "The X Factor," a network television show singing competition. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR

This weekend marks the first of two NASCAR weekends at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.  In the wake of the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, security measures will be in full-effect at the speedway.

Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren says details of security precautions aren't fully disclosed.  However, it will be clear to spectators that coolers and backpacks will be inspected.

bigstock.com

On Tuesday, voters in Wyandotte County will narrow the field of candidates for the Mayor/CEO of Unified Government.  The number running will be reduced from five to two, going into the April general election.  KCUR’s Dan Verbeck reports on candidates’ backgrounds and issue-positions that have appeared since the campaign began in earnest only a month ago.

Kansas City, Kan. – Kansas Speedway kicks off its tenth season with new leadership at the facility.

The track's former president, Jeff Boerger, is now in charge of the casino development immediately outside the speedway. His successor, Pat Warren, takes over the speedway operation at a time when auto racing's fan interest has leveled off.