The Known History of the

JayCee Speedway

Located One-Mile North of Larned, Kansas

 

 

 

This aerial photograph of the Larned Municipal Airport was taken seven years before the racetrack was built.  Note that due north is to the left in this photo and the city of Larned is located one mile to the right.  The white "X" near the bottom of the photo marks the sport where the JayCee Speedway would eventually be located - Don Spreier collection

 

 

 

This photo of the JayCee Speedway was taken from the pit entrance between turns three and four on the west side of the racetrack looking down the racetrack southeast across the fourth turn - Bill Nicholson collection

 

 

 

            Early in 1956, several members of the Larned, Kansas Junior Chamber of Commerce got together to construct a 3/8 mile dirt oval racetrack on a tract of City owned property at the west edge of the Larned Municipal Airport which was located one mile north of Larned.  Maynard Schneck along with brothers Herman and Wilbur Dirks were credited with spearheading the project as well as performing much of the work on the new facility themselves.

            Opening day was held under threatening skies on Sunday afternoon, May 27, 1956 with a large field of entries and a good turnout of spectators.  Merrick Racing Promotions of Dodge City, Kansas sanctioned the races and provided the rules for the construction of cars and for driver / crew conduct.  The racetrack was very dusty that afternoon and the cars gouged out large ruts in the corners.  Several drivers complained that they did not like the configuration of the racetrack with its long straightaways that ran east and west, and the sharp turns so members of the Jaycees got busy reconfiguring the track getting it ready for the second day of racing which was held on Sunday afternoon, June 24, 1956.  For spectator safety, the bleachers on the south side of the racetrack had been moved farther back from the new racetrack which was now a perfectly round circle and a quarter-mile in length.

            The races that have been run on the JayCee Speedway include:

 

 

Date

Winning Car's Number

Driver

Driver From

Car Owner(s)

Car Owner(s) From

Cars Entered

Laps in Feature

Attendance

May 27, 1956

11

John McGee

Wichita, Kansas

Bill & Harold Rebein

Dodge City, KS

30

20

"over 1,000"

June 24, 1956

80

Stanley Trahern

Sublette, Kansas

Bob Kenneman & Melvin Tuxhorn

Montezuma, Kansas 

30

20

"less than 1,000"

July 15, 1956

80

Stanley Trahern

Sublette, Kansas

Bob Kenneman & Melvin Tuxhorn

Montezuma, Kansas 

25

20

1,000

July 29, 1956

80

Stanley Trahern

Sublette, Kansas

Bob Kenneman & Melvin Tuxhorn

Montezuma, Kansas 

27

20

1,300

August 12, 1956

80

Stanley Trahern

Sublette, Kansas

Bob Kenneman & Melvin Tuxhorn

Montezuma, Kansas 

20

"upwards of 1,000"

September 9, 1956

28

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

20

1,150

September 23, 1956

30

Gene Coffman

Liberal, Kansas

Charles Setters

Liberal, Kansas

37

20

1,600

September 30, 1956

80

Stanley Trahern

Sublette, Kansas

Bob Kenneman & Melvin Tuxhorn

Montezuma, Kansas 

34

20

1,300

October 14, 1956

88

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

Jack & Jerry Culver

Dodge City, Kansas

28

20

1,300

May 5, 1957

Races canceled due to rain

May 12, 1957

88

Jack Culver

Dodge City, Kansas

Jack & Jerry Culver

Dodge City, Kansas

27

20

1,000

May 19, 1957

3

Nelson Carlson

Larned, Kansas

Wilbur Dirks

Larned, Kansas

28

20

"exceeding 1,000"

May 26, 1957

97

Lyle Lewis

Dighton, Kansas

Dale James

Dighton, Kansas

23

18

1,000

June 2, 1957

28

Don Shumard

Dodge City, KS

W. T. "Tommy" Jones

Montezuma, Kansas

23

20

June 9, 1957

Races canceled due to rain

 

 

June 16, 1957

8

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

16

20

"near capacity crowd"

June 23, 1957

Races canceled due to rain

 

 

June 30, 1957

28

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

W. T. "Tommy" Junes

Montezuma, Kansas

19

20

1,000

July 4, 1957

97

Lyle Lewis

Dighton, Kansas

Dale James

Dighton, Kansas

15

20

1,000

July 7, 1957

  The races scheduled on this date were canceled on June 30, 1957 so that the July 4, 1957 races could be added to the schedule instead.

July 14, 1957

97

Lyle Lewis

Dighton, Kansas

Dale James

Dighton, Kansas

18

20

1,000

July 21, 1957

28

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

W. T. "Tommy" Jones

Montezuma, Kansas

19

20

1,000

July 28, 1957

82

Don Spreier

Larned, Kansas

Charles Berryman

Larned, Kansas

18

20

1,000

August 4, 1957

28

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

W. T. "Tommy" Jones

Montezuma, Kansas

16

20

1,500

August 11, 1957

71 

Bob Murphy

Larned, Kansas

Herman Dirks

Albert, Kansas

18

20

1,000 

August 18, 1957

3

Nelson Carlson

Larned, Kansas

Wilbur Dirks

Larned, Kansas

16

20

1,000

August 25, 1957

28

Don Shumard

Dodge City, Kansas

W. T. "Tommy" Jones

Montezuma, Kansas

17

20

1,000

September 1, 1957

3

Nelson Carlson

Larned, Kansas

Wilbur Dirks

Larned, Kansas

16

20

1,300

September 8, 1957

35

Fritz Kuntzsch

Larned, Kansas

Joe & Harry Vratil

Larned, Kansas

27

20

1,000

September 15, 1957

Races canceled due to rain

 

 

September 22, 1957

3

Nelson Carlson

Larned, Kansas

Wilbur Dirks

Larned, Kansas

27

20

1,000

September 29, 1957

35

Fritz Kuntzsch

Larned, Kansas

Joe & Harry Vratil

Larned, Kansas

19

20

1,000

April 27, 1958

71

Bob Murphy

Larned, Kansas

Herman Dirks

Albert, Kansas

24

20

600

May 4, 1958

40

Bob Webster

Wichita, Kansas

Earl Vratil

Larned, Kansas

24

20

600

May 11, 1958

40

Bob Webster

Wichita, Kansas

Earl Vratil

Larned, Kansas

23

20

700

May 18, 1958

83

Bill Nave

Chase, Kansas

Bill Nave

Chase, Kansas

16

25

500

May 25, 1958

16

Gene Potts

Great Bend, Kansas

Gene Potts

Great Bend, Kansas

16

20

500

June 8, 1958

85

Bernie Beydler

Great Bend, Kansas

J. L. "Junior" Stillwell

Great Bend, Kansas

18

20

600

June 22, 1958

77

Ted Kreger

Dodge City, Kansas

Elmer "Shorty" Adams

Dodge City, Kansas

19

20

700

July 6, 1958

Races canceled due to wind damage and flooding in the area

 

 

July 13, 1958

Races canceled due to a shortage of entries

 

 

July 20, 1958

83

Bill Nave

Chase, Kansas

Bill Nave

Chase, Kansas

16

20

500

August 3, 1958

77

Ted Kreger

Dodge City, Kansas

Elmer "Shorty" Adams

Dodge City, Kansas

19

25

800

August 17, 1958

16

Gene Potts

Great Bend, Kansas

Gene Potts

Great Bend, Kansas

20

"several hundred"

August 31, 1958

77

Ted Kreger

Dodge City, Kansas

Elmer "Shorty" Adams

Dodge City, Kansas

28

20

September 7, 1958

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

29

20

September 21, 1958

73

Paul Befort, Jr.

Garden City, Kansas

Paul Befort, Jr.

Garden City, Kansas

34

20

September 28, 1958

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

May 17, 1959

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

25

May 31, 1959

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

20

June 28, 1959

July 12, 1959

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

25

August 2, 1959

August 16, 1959

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

25

August 30, 1959

September 6, 1959

3

Don Spreier

Larned, Kansas

Wilbur Dirks

Larned, Kansas

50

September 13, 1959

September 27, 1959

50

 

 

 

JayCee Speedway Track Champions

Year

Car Number

Driver

Driver From

Car Owner(s)

Car Owner(s) From

1956

80

Stanley Trahern

Sublette, Kansas

Bob Kenneman & Melvin Tuxhorn

Montezuma, Kansas 

1957

3

Nelson Carlson

Larned, Kansas

Wilbur Dirks

Larned, Kansas

1958

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

1959

10

Leland Salmans

Larned, Kansas

Richard W. Dougherty

Great Bend, Kansas

 

            Floyd N. "Dutch" Davis (1930-2010) of Dodge City, Kansas won the Merrick Racing Promotions circuit championship in 1958 but that championship was based on the total points scored in the races at all three of the racetracks then on the Merrick circuit combined.  Those were the Seward County Fairgrounds racetrack at Liberal, Kansas; McCarty Speedway in Dodge City, Kansas; and JayCee Speedway at Larned.  Davis' car #5 was owned by C. J. Fitzgerald of Minneola, Kansas.  Leland Salmans collected more points at just the JayCee Speedway than any other driver thus being declared the JayCee Speedway track champion.  Salmans also finished second to Davis on the Merrick Racing Promotions circuit championship that year driving a Hudson jalopy owned by Richard W. Dougherty of Great Bend, Kansas.

            Leland Salmans won the Merrick Racing Promotions circuit championship 1n 1959 as well as the JayCee Speedway championship that year while continuing to drive Richard W. Dougherty's Hudson.

Major rule changes were implemented in jalopy racing throughout much of the Midwest beginning in 1960.  More expensive cut down cars with modified engines were allowed to compete in this class at many racetracks.  The new cars were known regionally as “rails” and, although it was not mandated that all competitors have one, the “rails” were much faster rendering the “strictly stock cars” uncompetitive.  Some of the smaller racing organizations tried to resist the rule changes only to be faced with car shortages for their races as several car owners scrapped their “strictly stock cars” to build “rails”.  The car shortages and the inability to pay larger purses demanded by “rail” owners forced many racetracks in the smaller communities such as Larned to close.  It did not help that a woman was struck by an errant wheel from a jalopy at Hooker, Oklahoma near the end of 1959.  Her injuries were not serious but the lawsuit that followed and the resultant increase in liability insurance to continue racing there not only put an end to the sport at Hooker but the realization of the possible liability sent shock waves through those responsible for the other small racetracks in the area including JayCee Speedway.  Faced of all of the many changes to the sport, the Larned Jaycees decided not to renew their lease on the JayCee Speedway for 1960 so the City of Larned leased the ground to Hi-Plains Recreation, Inc. who built a go-cart track on the site.

           

 

 

 

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Thank You to:

Clifford Bieberle; Roger Burnett; John Carlson, Jr.; Nelson Carlson; Ron Carlson; Roseanna Coffman-Davis; Will Cokeley; Floyd "Dutch" Davis; Judy Farris; Bob Haberman; Dale May; Stan Morrison; Bob Murphy; Bill Nicholson; Ron Nicholson; Leon Oberle; Don Pedigo; Gene Potts; John Riead; Alan Salmans: Leland and Carolee Salmans; Steven Schrater, Richard Schwartzkopf; Don Shumard; Don Spreier; Jean Walton; the Great Bend Tribune newspaper; the Larned Tiller and Toiler newspaper; and everyone else who has assisted me with this project but whom I might have neglected to mention here.