By: Ashley Albaugh
On April 11, 2018, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville, IA held the Grand Opening celebration for their new six-story Bryan Clauson Suite Tower. The excitement and emotions were high for all in attendance as racer Bryan Clauson was officially memorialized with a tower of 12 suites named in his honor overlooking turn two of the Knoxville Raceway.
Above: Bryan Clauson Suite Tower at the Knoxville Raceway
Just ten short months ago we were standing in the blistering June sun during the official ground breaking ceremony. Friends, family, racers and fans gathered outside the track and shoveled the first piles of dirt with tears, laughter and a little bit of drama (a few poor souls hit the dirt – it was quite hot!). Once the shiny ceremonial shovels were boxed away, Scott Parker and his crew got right to work. Neumann crews and subcontractors powered through the summer heat and brutally cold winter to complete the project in time for the 2018 race season.
Above: Bob Baker welcomes the 400 guests in attendance and countless others watching live online
This was more than a typical design-build, ground-up, fast-paced project. The emotional investment in this tower goes beyond a necessity for more space [hear the stories shared during the grand opening here]. In our own office, Architect Matt Keller (with our in-house subsidiary, DesignBuild Solutions) and Senior Vice President Chad Bunner have been working with National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum Executive Director Bob Baker since 2009. “This project has been a blast from pre-construction, through design, construction and turnover” said Bunner. “Bob Baker and the museum have been nothing but exceptional to work with. We are pleased to have been involved in such an iconic addition to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum and the Knoxville Raceway Complex.”
Above: Chad Bunner and Bob Baker meet with Richard and Jennifer Marshall on the 6th floor observation deck before the ceremony
For Superintendent Scott Parker this was a dream project. An avid race fan, he spends much of his free time down in the pits at the Knoxville Raceway preparing car, number 2KS, for the track. “I am honored and completely humbled to have been a part of the construction process for this project,” Parker said. “This is not just a building, it is a vision of so many people that I am proud to say I know…that made this happen. I look back on the 35 years or so that I have exited the pit-gate after a Saturday night in Knoxville and I have come to realize that I was part of something so exciting for racers and fans, this was truly a dream come true for me.”
Above: Scott Parker shows Don Lambertti around his custom suite
Many heartfelt and excited speeches were given during the grand opening ceremony. Reoccurring themes throughout included amazement at what the crews accomplished in such a short time and recognition of their dedication and perseverance. Steve Van Wyk, Board President of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum, started his speech by thanking Neumann and the companies we worked with saying “every day this winter they showed up…January 2 they showed up and it was cold, they came to work but the machines did not [it was too cold for the hydraulics], that was the only day they didn’t work…to get us where we are today…and we are very appreciative.” City of Knoxville Mayor, Brian Hatch said, “From the planning to construction, the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower is a wonderful new addition that is second to none.”
Above: Ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to open the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower
The suites are now open for the 2018 race season. Several suites have already received a custom touch including new seating, storage, shelving and memorabilia that were designed, built and installed by Neumann Brothers.
Above & Below: Custom designed and built pieces in one of the new suites
Congratulations to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum and sprint car race fans on your new tower and congratulations to Scott Parker, Matt Keller, Chad Bunner and every crew member who contributed to making this challenging project a fantastic success!
Above: Smaller scissors were needed to "officially" cut the ribbon
Above: As during the ground breaking, balloons were released to honor racer Bryan Clauson
Above: Mural in the entrance to the new Bryan Clauson Suite Tower