Heartland Motorsports Park Owner Threatens Move To Kansas City

Kansas’ Heartland Motorsports Park is back in the news after track owner Chris Payne issued public remarks this week regarding the future of his facility pending tax-related negotiations with local county officials.

Payne, who swooped in and saved one of drag racing’s finest — and fastest — tracks from potential demise in 2015, told The Topeka Capital-Journal this week that he is considering razing the entire XX-acre facility and moving it to the Kansas City area if a more agreeable tax plan cannot be arranged, noting, “They’re basically taxing me out of town or out of business.″

Photo courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

Payne told the Capital-Journal the prolonged battle with Shawnee County officials has made it virtually impossible to run a profitable business, with monthly property taxes ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 during his three-year tenure as the assessed property value has been adjusted and re-adjusted based on improvements he’s made to the facility. The result is nearly $344,000 in taxes owed on the racetrack and surrounding properties that Payne owns in a single year.

“Heartland Motorsports is considering its options and looking into relocating, only because of the current situation — the current taxes and the threat of increasing them annually on a 30-year-old facility that’s only open six, seven months a year,″ Payne said. “You can relocate elsewhere, with less taxes and a new facility, and be better off.

“My intentions certainly wouldn’t have been in the beginning to spend millions of dollars to rejuvenate and rebuild the facility, knowing that this is how it was going to end up. My loyalty is towards Topeka, but Topeka doesn’t necessarily have loyalty towards Heartland, and I say that in reference to Shawnee County.”

You can read The Topeka Capital-Journal’s entire report, with additional commentary from Payne — including his offer to donate the Heartland Motorsports Park back to the city of Topeka — by clicking here.

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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