Fifty miles south of Lawrence, Kansas, lies a small city called Garnett. Aside from being the birthplace of American writer Edgar Lee Masters, Garnett hardly stands out from other county seats in the state’s flat expanse. Visitors will find a dine-in Pizza Hut, a turn-of-the-century courthouse, a main street lined with signless brick buildings, and—just within the city’s northern border—the 300-acre North Lake Park around small Lake Garnett.
Though you’d likely never know it driving through the city, from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, the road that ringed Lake Garnett made up a challenging road course with a surprising amount of elevation change and a foreboding sense of danger. The site of the Lake Garnett Grand Prix would host one of American sports car racing’s major turning points and thousands of club racers would compete there during the event’s 15 years. Those races eventually disappeared more than 40 years ago, but the temporary circuit has enjoyed renewed interest and enthusiasm.