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News

Ackerman: Tuxedo Park Raceway becomes tailor-made for go-kart racing

Ackerman: Tuxedo Park Raceway becomes tailor-made for go-kart racing

I’ve always been impressed by how a few individuals with a passion for something can make big things happen.

Consider what has happened in Crete, Nebraska. It was deemed that the area was in need of a Saturday night venue for go-kart racing. Now, thanks to one individual’s hard work and a group of very helpful supporters, Crete has that venue: Tuxedo Park Raceway.

What kind of person would be willing to undertake such a project? Probably someone with a family background in racing.

Enter Nick Dice. His grandfather built and raced micro midgets in the early 1950s in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. His dad, Steve, raced at Sunset Speedway in stock cars and raced micro midgets at Twin Arrows in Fort Calhoun. When Nick was 13, he started racing go-karts and one thing led to another, and another. And then another. The latest “another” is the recent construction of Tuxedo Park Raceway.

Dice’s real job as a manufacturing improvement engineer caused him to move a number of times and be in and out of go-kart racing. But after moving back to the area in 2012, he and his son competed at the Mini E in Eagle, Nebraska, and at the Turkey Chase, an indoor event in Lincoln at the Lancaster Event Center. He eventually approached the organizers of the Nebraska Kart Shootout — another indoor karting event at the Lancaster Event Center — and got involved in promoting that event for 2016.

That led to Dice being approached by staff members of the Lancaster Event Center about his interest in starting a track on their grounds. Both sides wanted it to work out, but with some large events coming to the center, they weren’t able to make long-term commitments. After being approached by several racers interested in making the idea go, Dice started looking for other sites. Along came Tuxedo Park.

“This area needs Saturday night karting,” Dice said. “There has been a void since Wavelink (near Waverly) closed in 2008, and I believe it has hurt the participation in go-kart numbers.

“When I was growing up, Wavelink was the place to be. If you could run there, you could run anywhere in the country.”

As with all successful projects, there are a lot of people who helped make Tuxedo Park a success. Those include Uncle Frank’s Racing, C&L Automotive, Andy & Atley Johnson Racing, Midwest Metal Works, Mid Nebraska Land Developers and, of course, Crete itself.

“The city of Crete has gone out of their way to partner with us,” Dice said. “We use some of their facilities and services, which helps us to keep the cost down.”

As for building the track, Dice said Ryan Roberts of Mid Nebraska Land Developers “was terrific.”

“He basically created the track in three and a half days,” Dice said.

People often wonder why Dice wanted to do the project.

“It’s a great question that I struggle to answer,” he said. “I think there is a huge opportunity to fill a void in our area. We need Saturday racing, and I think I can bring it back.”

Ralph Woodard of Uncle Frank’s, a supplier to four-cycle engine enthusiasts in Omaha, has been around go-karting a long time. He likes what Dice has put together.

“I think the late start to the season at Tuxedo Park will hurt in the short term,” Woodard said. “But I think a Saturday night go-kart track in the area makes a great deal of sense. The great support from the city of Crete is a big plus, and with Nick’s persistence, I think long term it’s going to be a very good thing for area go-karting.”

https://www.omaha.com/sports/local-sports/ackerman-tuxedo-park-raceway-becomes-tailor-made-for-go-kart/article_bd13ec2f-8a78-5251-9eb9-f9bf5fc9a510.html

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