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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Tyranny - The Unjust and Cruel
Exercise of Power

By Carl Blanton

It would seem to me that using our American system to build great wealth would also carry some very important moral responsibilities. Especially if the method you use to build that wealth is based on profiting from the necessities of life, perhaps from those less fortunate than yourself. I think real estate falls into that category.

We here at Mo-Kan Dragway are faced with defending ourselves against a lawsuit brought by a man, Bill Beall of Springfield, Missouri, who has amassed a great fortune in real estate. I think anyone with even a slight knowledge of racing would agree that the lawsuit filed by Beall is baseless and ridiculous. But it does not change the fact that we must use the meager profits from the track to defend ourselves. And it isn't going to be cheap. Mr. Beall owns about 1000 acres of land directly across from the track. He maintains a cabin there. It is not his full time residence. On this huge acreage is an 80-acre lake, where I am told Beall hunts ducks and geese.

According to the lawsuit that Beall filed, he bought the first piece of property in the area in 1991. Based on his ridiculous charges, Beall is asking for a preliminary injunction. It is my understanding that this would close the track until the suit is settled, baseless as it is.

While Beall lines up his dollars in an attempt to impose his tyranny, we have had an outpouring of support from Mo-Kan racers and the local community. Having learned of our plight on the Mo-Kan message board and a post on dragraceresults.com, we have also received letters of support from across the country. I now have a new appreciation for all track operators who have found themselves in a similar situation. Perhaps what is needed is a strong lobby for the auto racing sport as a whole.

If you would like to know more about Bill Beall and the companies he profits from, visit www.billbeall.com. As many of you know, Mo-Kan Dragway was built in 1962 by cousins Ron and Jim Wilbert of Pittsburg, Kansas. The track has operated continually since '62. Hours, days, and months of operation have varied. And as any racer would know, the specific types of race cars have varied also. I purchased the Mo-Kan business and began operating the track on April 18, 1999. I have been aware of Mr. Beall since around the first of October, '99.

He started this campaign by coming to the track and asking my gate people and spectators questions. He also sent people to the tower during races to ask questions, and they lied about who they were and what they really wanted. I received several phone calls from the Beall Company in Springfield (as it came up on the caller ID) at my office that same week. The callers never identified themselves, and one man even told me he wanted information because he was building a drag strip. At one point Mr. Beall and another man (I believe it was Mr. Placzek) confronted me at the gate and demanded to know why we weren't running "big cars" that night. They also demanded to know what improvements I had made and what improvements I planned. They identified themselves as spectators from Springfield. 

I was contacted by Matt Placzek of Springfield, Mo., who identified himself as an attorney working for Mr. Beall. Mr. Placzek informed me that Mr. Beall was not happy with the way I operated the track and he intended to take us to court to return the track to the previous days and hours of operation, He also indicated that Mr. Beall did not want us to make any improvements to the race track. Specifically, Mr. Placzek said that since I took over "The cars are louder and the lights are brighter." This is absolutely ridiculous.

As I mentioned, Mr. Beall does not live full time in this area. He maintains a cabin as a weekend retreat about two miles from the race track. It is my understanding from the neighbors that he buys all the land he possibly can in the area. I have been told that Mr. Beall tried to buy the Mo-Kan property as much as ten years ago. On what premise will Bill Beall be given control of our business? No matter what he says, the real issue here is whether or not Mr. Beall will be able to dictate to us when we operate our business and what improvements we make. If he is allowed to do this, it will not be long, in my opinion, before he uses the same tactics to gain control of other business, farms, or individuals in the area. Tyrannous. Part of what Mr. Placzek threatened me with was action by OSHA and the FHA.

My sons and I purchased Mo-Kan Dragway to operate as a family business. We have relocated to Asbury, Mo., and have every intention of making Mo-Kan a better facility that is an asset to this community. Mo-Kan Dragway has a very long and rich history. It is well known among racers from coast to coast. Our bracket race program is run semi-weekly and as at many tracks brings together racers from ages eight to eighty. 

If you walk through the pits at Mo-Kan, you'll meet some wonderful people. There is a close knit family atmosphere. Fathers with kids on one hand and holding time slips in the other, moms behind the wheels of dragsters, grandpas up to their elbows in engines while grandmas watched more kids and charcoaled burgers. Seeing two and three generations held together by racing is not unusual at our track. Our family of racers display positive attitudes, competitive spirits, and a generous nature. To let this be destroyed on the whim of a tyrant is unthinkable.

See you at the drags,
Carl Blanton

 

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