By: Ashley Albaugh
We’ve got the green flag and we are back at work at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville, Iowa! A groundbreaking was held Thursday, June 15 for their new Bryan Clauson Suite Tower overlooking turn two of the Knoxville Raceway. The new tower will be home to 12 new suites available to lease each race season. Suite rentals are the primary source of income for the Hall of Fame and Museum.
Above: Neumann Truck and Rendering of the new Suite Tower
Thursday’s event was not your traditional groundbreaking. Typically an Owner’s representative, maybe a city official or two and a couple construction partners say a few quick words about how excited they are to begin construction followed by the ceremonial shoveling of dirt – in and out in 20 minutes. The groundbreaking for the new suite tower - with 18 speakers, over 100 guests, a large media presence and one terrier (appropriately named Chevy) – was more than an hour of excitement and love from the Sprint Car community.
Above: Waiting for the official groundbreaking!
In addition to being the official groundbreaking and construction kick off, Thursday’s event was also a celebration of racer Bryan Clauson’s life and his contributions to the sport. Clauson died in August 2016 after a crash on a Kansas dirt track. The new suite tower, named for him, was dedicated on what would have been his 28th birthday – making for an incredibly moving and emotional ceremony.
Above: On Your Mark, Get Set....
Speakers included emcee Tony Bokhoven, museum Executive Director Bob Baker, Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch, Marion County Fair Board President Larry Cummings, Knoxville Raceway Director John McCoy, Museum President Jeff Savage, Casey’s General Stores founder Don Lamberti, major donors Richard and Jennifer Marshall, Bryan’s parents Tim and Diana Clauson, Bryan’s sister Taylor McClean, Bryan’s Fiancé Lauren Stewart, Bryan’s Crew Chief Tyler Ransbottom, and friends and fellow racers Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman and Jason Johnson.
Above: GO! Speakers from the day's ceremony dig in the dirt to make way for the new suite tower.
Neumann Brothers and in-house subsidiary, DesignBuild Solutions have been working with Bob Baker on this project since early 2009. The project is finally getting off the ground due to the support and donations provided by friends, family and fans of Bryan Clauson and sprint car racing. Construction officially begins this week and the new Bryan Clauson Suite Tower is scheduled to be completed in time for the start of the 2018 race season.
Above: It was quite the crowd for the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower Groundbreaking!
Project Superintendent Scott Parker, a longtime sprint car fan and racer, is all geared up (pun intended) to begin construction. “I’m out here all the time anyways it’s only fitting I get my hands in the dirt on this project,” Parker declared. “This new tower will be good for the Raceway – it’ll bring in more people and more money to keep the museum running – it’s good for the sport!”
Above: Scott Parker, Don Lambertti and Bob Baker listen to the many heartfelt speeches
So next time you are out enjoying a race at the Knoxville Raceway or popping in to view the fantastic displays of Sprint Car history in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum, check out construction progress off of turn two – we can’t wait to see the impact this project will have on the Sprint Car community!
Above: Jason Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Larson sign an NBI hardhat to be featured in the Museum
Above: Richard and Jennifer Marshall and Bob Baker leave their mark on the hard hat
Above: Neumann Hard Hat signed by everyone who spoke during the groundbreaking