A new race season is on the horizon and anxious fans are ready to spend their Saturday nights at their local short track, but the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could at least delay the opportunity for fans to attend the tracks.
Municipal governments and state governments have started taking draconian measures in the wake of the outbreak, which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. Already, the NBA has suspended its season, the ACC Tournament has been canceled, and other major sporting events and festivals have been canceled.
While some tracks have no contingency plans to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and possible cancelations of events that could be forced by state governments, others are monitoring the global crisis.
The latest developments can be found below:
Wake County Speedway opener postponed
All race events are postponed through May 3rd in accordance with safety protocols recommended by the CDC. Also, mandated by NASCAR for its weekly home tracks.
Bowman Gray opener postponed to May 9th
Yesterday NASCAR and ARCA announced in official statements that all race events were postponed through May 3rd in accordance with safety protocols recommended by the CDC.
We have received numerous questions in regards to the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series and expectations for our weekly track owners and operators. We are extending this policy from our National Series all the way through our NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. NASCAR is mandating that there are not to be any NASCAR sanctioned races through May 3.
This is in addition to prohibitions made by Governor Roy Cooper and the city of Winston-Salem, as well as recommendations from President Trump, the CDC, and the World Health Organization. In accordance with these mandates and recommendations, we are postponing the start of our 72nd season of racing action until May 9.
– Bowman Gray Stadium statement, via Speed51
NASCAR Plans to Return to Racing in May at Martinsville
“The health and safety of our fans, industry and the communities in which we race is our most important priority, so in accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return racing in Martinsville. We appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to returning to the racetrack. We intend to hold all 36 races this season, with future rescheduling soon to be determined as we continue to monitor this situation closely with public health officials and medical experts. What is important now transcends the world of sports and our focus is on everyone’s safety and well-being as we navigate this challenging time together.”
Kingsport Speedway Cancels Season Opener
Kingsport Speedway is postponing it’s 2020 season opener scheduled for Saturday, March 21 due to concerns over the coronavirus.
The season-opening event will take place at a date to be announced later. With Governor Bill Lee declaring a state of emergency in Tennessee and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discouraging large gatherings, the speedway feels that postponing the event is the best for all parties involved until the situation improves.
“The well-being of our staff, fans, race teams and other stakeholders is our upmost priority,” said Karen Tunnell, general manager at Kingsport Speedway. “While we certainly don’t want to postpone the first race of the season, we feel it is the best thing to do at this time.”
Tunnell says the speedway will continue to monitor the coronavirus and follow advice of authorities.
“As we have been doing continually, we will monitor the situation and follow advice of the CDC and other authorities,” added Tunnell. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those effected by this virus, and we look forward to getting back to racing soon.”
Details about other scheduled racing events will be released soon. For the most up-to-date information, follow the speedway’s social media accounts and visit kingsportspeedway.com.
Langley postpones start of 2020 season
“Due to the current COVID 19 outbreak, Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway will be postponing the start of the 2020 season. This comes after the CDC and the state of Virginia have banned events of 100 or more people. Langley is closely monitoring the situation to determine when it will be safe to reopen. The open practice scheduled for March 21st has also been canceled. However, the track will be available for private testing Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.” – Langley Speedway statement
Dillon postpones opener due to COVID-19 outbreak
“Dillon Motor Speedway is following protocol issued by the SC Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina regarding COVID-19, as well as, the protocol issued by the DHEC and the CDC, we will be postponing this weekend’s racing (March 20-21). The Governor’s protocol calls for a gathering of less than 100 people but there are more Fans, Crew, Employees and Drivers than that at our racing events. Our first priority is the well being of our fans, competitors and staff. This weekend’s race will be rescheduled for a later date when everything is back to normal. Dillon Motor Speedway’s season opener is set for April 18, 2020. We want to thank everyone for your support of the speedway! Our thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you.” – Dillon Motor Speedway statement
CARS Tour Cancels Old North State Nationals at Orange County
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper passed Executive Order No. 117 on March 14th, which banned public gatherings of more than 100 people within the state for thirty (30) days. The Old North State Nationals presented by Visit Orange County, originally scheduled for April 4-5th at Orange County Speedway, has been postponed indefinitely as a result.
For more information about the CARS Tour, visit www.carsracingtour.com.
Tri-County Motor Speedway Cancels Upcoming Events; Testing Still Available
Tri-County Motor Speedway has announced that all future events including the season opener featuring the Southeast Super Trucks have been canceled. The track is still available for testing via track rentals. Parties interested in testing can message the tracks Facebook page for more information.
Motor Mile pushes opener back to May
Speedway statement: “Motor Mile Speedway & Dragway has suspended the start of its 2020 season through Friday, May 15th. Track management will make every effort to reschedule all speedway and dragway events affected by this scheduling adjustment.”
Anderson postpones season opener
Track statement: Following protocol issued by the Governor of South Carolina regarding COVID-19, as well as, the protocol issued the DHEC and the CDC we will be postponing our 2020 Season Opener and adhering to the recommended 14-day quarantine period. Currently, it is our hope that we will be able to start racing the beginning of April, but we will continue to monitor and re-evaluate based on the situation at that time.
We take the nature of this public health crisis seriously and for the safety and welfare of all our patrons, drivers and staff we believe this is the best course of action.
Greenville-Pickens Speedway suspends 2020 season
Track statement: “It’s with heavy hearts that we have decided to suspend the 2020 racing season at Greenville-Pickens Speedway until further notice due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our first priority is the well being of our fans, competitors and staff. As a result we will be operating in accordance to the request of SC Governor, Henry McMaster that events be limited to 100 people or less. We will continue to keep all of you updated on developments. We want to thank everyone for your support, please be safe! Our thoughts and prayers are with each and everyone of you.”
Carteret cancels 4-Cylinder Nationals
From a speedway press release: “In accordance with an executive order issued by Governor Roy Cooper banning public gatherings of 50 people or more, Saturday’s racing program at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway has been canceled.”
CDC recommends 8 week pause on sporting events
“CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.”
CARS Tour cancels Hickory race
Series press release: “North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has passed Executive Order No. 117, which banned public gatherings of more than 100 people within the state. The Race Face Tel-Med 300, originally scheduled for March 21 at Hickory Motor Speedway, has been canceled as a result.”
Ace Speedway season opener still on
Ace Speedway posted a statement on Facebook saying their March 27th race was still on as scheduled at this point.
“As for now, the Season Opener is still ON AS SCHEDULED for March 27th 2020 in the event that the COVID-19 threat is downgraded.”
The executive order, issued by the Governor of North Carolina, bans public gatherings of 100+ people for 30 days, but could be rescinded earlier.
Corey Latham, on-site during the sudden cancellation at Hickory Motor Speedway, gives his unfiltered thoughts.
Hickory halts racing amid order from governor
Tonight’s racing program at Hickory Motor Speedway was halted after qualifying when word came down about the governor’s order.
North Carolina bans mass gatherings
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced moments ago that mass gatherings with more than 100 people have been banned due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Saturday’s race at Hickory Motor Speedway still on
Hickory Motor Speedway will host races on Saturday night, March 14th, at 7pm. Late Model Stocks will race twice on Saturday while Limiteds will also race. The event is still on, as of Friday night.
NASCAR postpones NWMT race at South Boston
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, NASCAR has postponed the March 21st Who’s Your Driver NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 at South Boston Speedway. A makeup date for the race will be announced later.
Advance tickets purchased for the March 21 event will be honored on the rescheduled date. “We apologize for any inconvenience, but the health and wellbeing of fans, competitors, staff, and everyone involved is our top priority,” said South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice.
The Open Practice/Media Day event scheduled for Saturday at South Boston Speedway has been canceled and will not be rescheduled.
– South Boston Speedway press release
This decision comes hours after NASCAR postponed major league races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Myrtle Beach Speedway still on for Saturday
Cars are on track now testing ahead of Saturday afternoon’s races at Myrtle Beach Speedway. The track still plans to race on Saturday.
NASCAR will not allow fans to attend Atlanta or Homestead
NASCAR released a statement Wednesday saying, “At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 12, 2020
CARS Tour still plans to race on March 21st
CARS Tour series director Chris Ragle said the series has given no thought about canceling races at this time.
Wake County Speedway monitoring COVID-19
Wake County Speedway is keeping an eye on the coronavirus situation and will seek advice from experts.
“I personally am not buying into this hysteria just yet,” Wake County Speedway operator Charlie Hansen said. “We will be monitoring it closely and will seek and take advice from the professionals at the NCCDC and USCDC, not the media.”
When asked if Wake County Speedway would still operate without fan attendance, Hansen noted that Wake County Speedway could not operate without spectators.
“A racetrack cannot exist without fans,” Hansen said. “It is a balance. It takes both teams and fans to make it work. For Wake County, we are one of the most affordable tracks to race at. We can keep the cost reasonable for our drivers as we have great fan counts that help over the operating expenses of the track. It would not be fair to the teams to try to make the track survive off the back gate.”
Bowman Gray Stadium moving forward with 2020 season
Bowman Gray Stadium, in a statement to Race22, also says they plan to continue with their 2020 season, which begins in April.
“Bowman Gray Stadium Racing’s season opener is April 18, and we are moving ahead over the coming weeks with preparing for our 72nd season of racing action. We will continue to monitor the situation until then.”