JEFFERSON, S.D. — Racers and fans looking to scratch their racing itch amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to do so this weekend at South Dakota’s The New Raceway Park.
The track, co-promoted by Steve Kiraly and Dennis Moore, will host a five-division show on Sunday headlined by a $600-to-win IMCA modified feature. IMCA stock cars, sport mods, hobby stocks and sport compacts will also be on the card.
“I feel good that we’re able to do this, but trust me it took a lot of work and a lot of grief to get to it with all the government agencies and all of that,” said Kiraly. “There is really no legislation out there to stop us from what we’re doing.
“I have a lot of support going into this thing and I have had a lot of people asking for it.”
A number of top names have entered the IMCA modified portion of the event, including NASCAR veterans Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader, as well as regional stars such as Ricky Thornton Jr. The track limited entries to 30 cars in the modified class.
While South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has not issued a stay-at-home order, she has issued an executive order recommending limiting the size of social gatherings and suggesting that residents follow CDC guidelines for social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With that in mind, track officials have limited the amount of grandstand tickets sold to 500, with a large portion of those tickets already sold via advanced ticket sales. Everyone in attendance, including fans, track employees, crew members and drivers when they aren’t in their race cars, will be required to wear masks.
Teams in attendance will be limited to 10 people per car in the pit area. Everyone in the pits and in the stands will have their temperatures taken prior to entering the track with a no-contact thermometer.
“We’re taking every precaution that we’re able to take by the CDC guidelines,” Kiraly said. “We’re taking temperatures of every individual as they come into the property. Tickets were pre-sold so we can limit the amount of people for distancing in our grandstand. Everybody will be required to wear a face mask. In the grandstands people will actually be shown how to sit.”
Those unable to attend the event will be able to watch the racing live thanks to SPEED SPORT Network affiliate Advantage Racing TV. Click here for details regarding the pay-per-view broadcast.
The event at The New Raceway Park follows Saturday’s Open Wheel Nationals at nearby Park Jefferson Int’l Speedway, which will feature 410 sprint cars and IMCA modifieds. That event is being promoted by Terry McCarl’s Front Row Challenge Enterprises.
“Adam Adamson across the street at Park Jefferson and myself, we would like to be the guys paving the way to help show how we can do this in a way that we’re probably all going to have to do this when we’re starting to rebound the economy,” Kiraly said.
Officials from the Union County Sheriff’s Department posted a statement on Facebook indicating they are aware of both events and do not intend to take any legal action against either facility. Governor Noem stated Tuesday that while she prefers fans not attend the events, she will not attempt to stop either race from taking place.
Kiraly said that if Sunday’s race goes well, he’s hoping other race tracks can use what The New Raceway Park did as a model to help get racing going elsewhere in the country.
“If this goes well, if the governor and state doesn’t find a way to try and put the kibosh to it, I think we’re going to see it spread across the country and have people coming in and watching and seeing and reporting how this went,” Kiraly said. “I would think it could have a positive impact to get this type of activity going again.”