COLUMBUS, Neb. – One era has ended and another begun at U.S. 30 Speedway.
Promoter Louise ‘Sam’ Ganskow called it a career following the 2014 race season after 29 years. She has sold the track to daughter Mari and son-in-law Ron Melcher. Mari and sisters Michelle Rosno and Debi Kleinheksel will continue to share race director duties.
She and husband of 13 years Kenny have got plans to do some traveling, enjoy his vintage racing and help out when needed at the 1/3-mile clay oval.
“People have been telling me I should stay one more year and promote U.S. 30 for 30 years,” Ganskow said. “I tell them 29 is my age. It’s the number of Kenny’s race cars and I’m totally satisfied with retiring after 29 years because that’s my number.”
U.S. 30 was a family operation from the time the late Darrell Duane ‘Abe’ Lincoln built the track in what had been a soybean field in 1985.
Abe, Sam, their children and grandchildren worked (and played) at the track, sanctioned by IMCA since 1994.
Sam took over as promoter after Abe died in August of 1997; she survived a plane crash the following July, married Kenny in 2001 and has remained in charge for 17 years that saw their share of changes in the industry.
“Everybody would come to the races to have a good time. There would be times when it was two, three or four in the morning before everybody went home,” she said. “There weren’t many enclosed trailers or as many drivers who wanted to race for points.”
Race night at U.S. 30 changed from Fridays to Sundays and ultimately to Thursdays.
“We have enjoyed being an IMCA track and one of the things Kenny mentioned just a few days ago was that they write the rules. If someone complains to us about the rules, we just tell them that’s an IMCA thing and they say ‘OK,” Ganskow said. “IMCA has been our salvation rules-wise. We have had several situations with drivers and the rules and IMCA has always stood beside us.”
Opening night for 2015 is scheduled for April 16 at Columbus.
IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Mach-1 Sport Compacts will be joined by newly-sanctioned IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars on weekly programs.
Three dates for RaceSaver, a division of IMCA Sprint Cars will also be announced. The point season for all divisions will continue into September.
“Sam has been a fixture in IMCA racing in the State of Nebraska for the last 20 years,” IMCA Vice President of Operations Brett Root said. “We’ve enjoyed every minute of that association and wish her and Kenny all the best. They’ll have a lifetime VIP pass in their names at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.”