Garnett hosted the Lake Garnett Grand Prix Races as part of the SCCA series from 1959-1972. This was the premier series at the time and included cars from all of the major automakers including Ferrari, Maserati, Shelby, Chevrolet and Austin Healey to name a few. Many famous race car drivers, such as Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby, raced here. Race fans now in their 60s and 70s all over the country still remember heading to Garnett those weekends after the Fourth of July to join an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 fans who sometimes attended the events throughout the 1960's.
Due to difficulties with crowd control and increasing safety concerns the track was closed to competitive racing in 1972. The ghosts of race's past still lives on.
In 2013, out of personal desire to hear cars screaming around the track, CB Harris, his wife Cheryl, and a small band of volunteers hosted a tribute to the racers, cars and events of past. This event was a huge success, so much so that the participants and the city requested that the event become an annual event. This was the birth of the Lake Garnett Grand Prix Revival.
The event is now organized and arranged by a committee made up of local car clubs and individuals. The City of Garnett has sanctioned and supports the event.
In 2014, a non-profit organization was formed to organize and host the annual event. The organization is comprised of local Kansas car enthusiasts.
Lake Garnett race track is a 2.8 mile road course that was completely re-done in 2007 with new track surface, new pit road, new off road, new corner curbing and an enlarged asphalt hot pit area.
The track is part of Garnett's North Lake Park which is visited by thousands of people each year who "cruise the lake" and spend time enjoying the park's unique history and variety of amenities. The North Lake Park consists of approximately 300 acres and is located inside the city limits of Garnett, Kansas. The creation of the park started with the construction of Lake Garnett which began on October 15, 1934 by Civilian Conservation Corps. The project included a 48 acre man made lake with dam and spillway, a road, and the planting of over 300 cedar trees, lilac bushes, rose bushes and shrubs. Also encompassing the project are two shelter houses, restrooms, a football stadium and swimming pool. The project was finished in 1936.
The park found stardom as a national landmark in the late 50's to early 70's when the lake road became the 2.8 mile "true road" course for 9 sports car races held from 1959 to 1972. History books tell of the famous 1963 Lake Garnett Grand Prix in which the peak attendance record was estimated at 75,000 people (Garnett Pop: 3,200).
Cruising Lake Garnett is a favorite past-time or custom of both the local residents and visitors. When cruising Lake Garnett one must be mindful of its unique features which were fondly named by the Lake Garnett Racing Association: Flat Iron Corner, North Bend, Muleshoe Corner, Red Dog Straight Away, Snyder Corner, The Chute, Clubhouse Bend, to name a few.