Custom: Racing on a dirt track.
Where can you see this custom take place? At Belleville's High Banks, the world's fastest Half-Mile Dirt Track and the oldest continuously used dirt track in the U.S. The track is at 7th and O.
Learn more about High Banks at the High Banks Hall of Fame and National Midget Auto Racing Museum at 1204 H Street (U.S. 81 and 12th) in Belleville. June through September, Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. October through May, Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
THE HISTORY OF THE TRACK
High Banks is a historic dirt track built in the 1910 era for racing events that encompassed everything from horses to motorcycles. In the 1930s a limestone grandstand with a banked oval was built at the fairgrounds as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.
Photo courtesy Kenneth Naysmith
With the exception of the war years, 1942-1945, the track has
operated continuously. Belleville's
track is the fastest half-mile track in the world. It has a 23-degree bank and
is 80-foot wide. The sweeping clay oval is one of the world's most
demanding tracks for both drivers and equipment.
Today, the track brings more than race cars and drivers to North Central
Kansas, but also an atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm with fans from all
over the world attending their favorite races throughout the year.
CAREERS START HERE
Belleville High Banks has launched many auto racing careers. Racing names such as Andretti, Unser, Foyt, Bettenhausen, Grim, and Burdick raced here fifty years ago. More recently Jeff Gordon, Johnny Parsons, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, J.J. Yeley, Clint Bowyer, to name a few, have raced here.
When you consider the numbers of local people who have "worked" that half-mile dirt track with horses and now more modern machines to get it into the condition fit for races throughout the years, the High Banks is a long-standing tradition with a very special racing culture, involving many, many people in and around Republic County.
It's long been tradition to accept ATV's on the Belleville streets. Many race teams don't bring additional transportation in addition to the haulers.
To recognize the long-standing tradition and prestige of various racing events held at the track, the High Banks Hall of Fame & National Midget Auto Racing Museum was opened in 2004. The museum was built to capture and remember racing personalities and display memorabilia and race cars that influenced the historic racing community. Cars and pictures along with results and history represent all the years of racing from 1910 to the present time.