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"If you build it, he will come." -- 'The Voice' instructing Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to build a ballfield, in FIELD OF DREAMS, 1989
Leonard Besinger had a dream alright, and in 1958 he built it. The problem was getting people to come, consistently, over the long haul. A fan of Grand Prix racing, Mr. Besinger and his team traveled all over Europe, touring and photographing existing tracks, to cobble together their plan for a track of their own. Already a successful developer in his own right, his vision was that such a track would also serve as a boom to his ongoing project of the moment, that being Carpentersville Illinois.
The problem is, passion, along with being a contractor, does not necessarily equate to knowing how to build a race track. I mean, I love to cook and I love rainbow trout, but if you put me on one of those cooking shows and told me to "plate it up in twenty minutes", well guess what, Sparky? I mean, Oh Boy (Oberto!) it would look, and subsequently TASTE like a hunk of jerky!
The finished track, a 3.27-mile road course looked grand, and boasted what was designed to be its crowning jewel, a massive "monza wall", but that is where the difficulties began. Instead of producing epic speeds and competition, as was done by its inspirations, the monza walls of Italy, it proved to be unstable and uneven as if it were constructed out of a pile of Chevy Monzas. An early race at the track endured a fatality, and the track earned a (undeserved) reputation as a 'death track'.
The inability to secure a substantial series, such as the SCCA, which was already holding races north of Milwaukee at Road America, added to the turmoil, and the track seemed doomed to a fate of endless re-organizations, management turnovers and reboots. I feel had they made a particular decision early in the game, as opposed to at (what would be) the END, they might still be open today, and what would that be, you ask?