Wednesday, May 12


First car races bring mixed responses

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[MAY 12, 2004]  Members of the Lincoln City Council spent some time discussing responses to car races at the fairgrounds. Sunday night's races constituted the first of the year at the new raceway.

Mayor Beth Davis opened by saying that she wanted to dispel rumors that there have been hundreds of complaints. There were only 10 calls logged at City Hall. They all came in after 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Nine were about noise, one about dust.

Mayor Davis said the races went past the 10:30 p.m. shutdown time. This was due to starting an hour late and then a four-car pileup on the very last heat of the modified. It took a little time to get the cars un-crunched and off the track. She said she spoke with the operators and recommended that they allow time for such possibilities and plan to cut races at 10:20 in the future. She also said that the cars did have mufflers on.

The complaint of dust is expected to settle itself, as this is a new track and there would be more dust using it the first time. Operators will also learn how to treat the track to prevent excessive dust.

Alderman Madigan said that he and Alderman Huskins are responsible for the wards that surround the fairgrounds. He said he received only two complaints. They were about the noise, and one was at 10:45 p.m. Alderman Huskins received a concern that the lights from the track would shine in the house. The lights are being adjusted. Alderman Steve Fuhrer also reported receiving a call.


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There were folks sitting in their pickup trucks across from the fairgrounds on Jefferson Street watching the races. It was observed that the people in the vehicles were drinking, and it may have been alcoholic beverages. Police Chief Richard Montcalm said that starting next Sunday they will strictly enforce that (the law). "It's not going to become drinking on the streets of Jefferson Street," he said.

Alderman Derrick Crane shifted the discussion when complaints had been aired, saying, "Everybody can understand that we've got to give these guys a chance. Give them a little bit of a chance and see if they can learn from their experience. It sounds like we're bashing them here, and that's not the case," he said.

His sentiments were echoed throughout the room. Alderman Jonie Tibbs said she agreed. She didn't think there were really too many complaints for a first-time event, and they would need some time to get things corrected.

"I looked around and saw a lot of unfamiliar faces, saw a lot of Lincoln people," Mayor Davis said.

"This will be great for our community," Alderman Tibbs said.

[Jan Youngquist]

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