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The beginning’s of racing in Kansas City

The Kansas City Timing Association was established in 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri. The club consisted of a gang of enthusiasts from the Kansas City area. The guys in the club contacted a lawyer, and got the KCTA name incorporated so they could hold drag races. The club held drag races at an old WWII emergency air field that they rented from the chamber of commerce in Edna, Kansas for $35.00 a month. Bob Taylor was president of the club at the time. KCTA held officially sanctioned and insured drag races, with classes of cars and safety inspections sanctioned through the National Hot Rod Association. In 1955 Ray Erickson was elected president of the KCTA. By then the club consisted of about a dozen members. The same year the Kansas City Police Department asked interested parties and car enthusiasts to attend a meeting regarding the illegal street racing problem in Kansas City. At the meeting, who was held at Masonic Temple in Kansas City, the Kansas City Police Department said that the city needed proper clubs, and one association of the same clubs to deal with the Police. Present from the Police Department was an official named Major Eugene Pond. The KCTA informed Major that their club was already incorporated, and that they had the perfect name for such an association. So they agreed to donate their name to the new drag strip and associated clubs. After the KCTA became the association that organized the other clubs, the original club changed name to the Kansas City Cranktwisters. After the meeting Major Pond got the Kansas City Southern Railway to lease property to build a dragstrip on Front Streep near the river, he also got Midwest Precote to build the dragstrip. The dragstrip should afterwards be paid off from gate receipts collected from spectators at races. At that time Ray Erickson, who was president of the Kansas City Cranktwisters, was also elected by the KCTA officers to be president of the KCTA. Along with Major Pond, Ray signed a note for $60,000 to build the drag strip. The new drag strip was opened july 17, 1955. In 1956 NHRA wanted to hold official National Drag Races in Kansa City at the newly made strip. NHRA wanted the strip wider and longer, so Major Pond and Ray signed another note for $10,00 for improvements. After improving the strip, the National Drag Races were successfully held with huge crowds attending. Officers of 1956 were Ray Lee Erickson that acted as President. Robert Taylor that acted as Vice-President, William Rodgers that acted as Treasurer, Lee Williams that acted as Secretary, and Lee Dorrell that acted as Liaison Officer. In 1957 Ray declined renomination as President, as both family and work were pressing him for time. On December 6, 2014 at the age of 86 Ray Erickson lost his fight with cancer.

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