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Night race would help beat the heat at Kansas Speedway
They threw ice bags on top of Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Carl Edwards sarcastically asked for a cup of hot chocolate. Denny Hamlin asked how hot a sauna is, and, told it could be 180 degrees or so, said sitting in one for four hours could show you what it’s like to drive a race car on an unrelenting Midwestern summer afternoon.

And that’s just the drivers, the ones who are paid millions to be here, contractually required to show up and say nice things about Kansas Speedway and the inaugural STP 400 on Sunday.

The fans? They had it even worse, sweating through an afternoon deciding when to scramble toward the grandstand’s shade — which meant missing the race they’d paid to see. Temperatures went into the mid-90s, and the Speedway’s location and the logistics of auto racing mean the track always feels five to 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer.

There are many factors, we all understand that, but it’s hard not to notice that the estimated 80,000 fans on Sunday were around 20 percent less than the Speedway has drawn in the past.

All of which is a setup to state the obvious: Kansas Speedway has a new second race now, and if the people here want it to work they need to use their new lights and run the thing at night.

“I’m getting all these Twitter messages,” Speedway president Pat Warren says, “people saying, ‘It’s brutally hot, let’s run a night race.’” KansasCity.com

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