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Summit Motorsports Park plans to open despite government regulations

The race track isn’t asking for permission; They’re just going to open the gates

Summit Motorsports Park is a drag strip located in Huron County, Ohio.

The state of Ohio is on a stay-at-home order until May 1, 2020. However, the more important detail is gatherings have been limited to 10 people.

These stay-at-home orders may be lifted soon, that really depends on Ohio data from the previous 14 days, based on new cases. But gatherings limits aren’t likely to be limited enough for sports, for months or a year.

As of Thursday, the state of Ohio had 8,414 cases of COVID-19. 389 of those have died. However, Huron County, only has 16 cases.

The White House has stated that sporting events with spectators are not likely to open until 2021, with spectators. Essentially, a vaccine will dictate when it is safe for this industry to open back up at full speed.

Per the White House plan, sports will be a go for states that reach ‘Phase 1’. States get there with no spikes in new coronavirus cases for 14 straight days. But, phase 1 just means hosting sports without fans, not full grandstands.

Meanwhile, race tracks are dying, all across the country. In the case of Summit Motorsports Park, they are going to open the gates regardless, for the sake of keeping themselves alive.

“We’ve gotta take this a few weeks at a time and see exactly where we are,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine stated Thursday of hosting sporting events later this summer. “Big events where we are mixing together are pretty problematic as long as this monster is out there.”

DeWine insisted sporting venues would be one of the last thing’s to open. He wasn’t sure if they’d open at all by the end of the summer.

But, the Ohio drag strip is going for it anyway, as soon as next week. Keep in mind this will be in direct violation of federal guidelines and state enforced regulations.

Related: Race tracks shouldn’t open grandstands at all in 2020

Bill Bader Jr talks Summit Motorsports Park

“I had hoping to make a major announcement today. I’m going to have to delay that, for one week,” track owner Bill Bader Jr stated.

“We have a lot of masters. We have a sanctioning body which we have obligations and compliance to. A very large book of sponsors. We have been blessed to have a strong portfolio of marketing partners that spend a lot of money with us each year.”

“I have customers and they come in the form of spectators who buy tickets. They come in the form of racers.”

“We employ 430 event staff. We had 26 full-time people working here.”

The track is now down to just 5. And Bill himself is working without a paycheck.

“We have a number of facility lease partners that we work with. It’s like putting together a puzzle, when you put together the year. There are months and months of complexity in creating a schedule.”

“Now, we are unraveling that. That does not happen quickly.”

The track was asked by a large series if their sanctioned date could be moved to later in the year. But, the tracks had a different big event on that date. He was being forced to pick.”

“Would you honor your contract, which is event X. Or would you put event Y which quite frankly makes way more money than event X. The problem is, these are relationships.”

“You don’t ever, in my opinion, sell yourself to the highest bidder. At that point, you’re just a whore. And I’m not interested in doing that.”

“There’s gotta be integrity components when you’re trying to unravel a schedule that you’ve put months putting together.”

Summit Motorsports Park weighs safety vs economic collapse: The cure being worse than the problem

“I think safety is of paramount importance. To try to quantify a human life, by placing a value on it. Is a human life priceless? Or irreplaceable? Those are things that are way above my pay grade and only the good lord can answer those things.”

“If you look at the numbers as a result of COVID-19. They are a fraction of the projection. The media, Dr. Fauci or whomever drove this machine, led us to believe that this was going to be a catastrophic loss of life.”

“It’s proving out now, that’s certainly not going to be the case.”

Cities all across America have shutdown. Obviously, that’s going to dramatically slow the spread of any virus. Bader, sees that as an opportunity to open.

The virus still has a 5% death rate in the United States.

Media’s fault

“Yet, the media is not taking their foot off the gas.”

“We have empowered these people. If they had their way, they would save every human life. The question I have for them is, at what expense?”

“If we are able to save every human life of COVID-19. But, in the process of that, we all starve to death. What did we accomplish? The is a conversation in morality. That’s not something we need to debate.”

Many industries will be clear to open in the coming weeks, just not this one. The sporting and events industry are planned to be the last to re-open, with the exception of sports held without fans.

Is it safe?

“Many of us feel that we are approaching a stage where it is safe to engage. It is safe to go back outside. And I think the American people want to go back to work.”

America leads the world in confirmed cases and New York is still completely shut down along with any populated areas.

The South Dakota governor was very against a stay at home order. Now, South Dakota is becoming one of the fastest growing hot spots in the entire United States.

“You’re seeing all these peaceful protests, that probably in the days and weeks to come, will become less peaceful. Which I would never advocate.”

People gathered across the country to protest various orders and limits to purchase certain items. They aren’t necessarily protesting to stand in crowded grandstands.

Summit Motorsports Park went into debt just ahead of the pandemic

“These local governments are left with how to restart the economy. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how to do that.”

“Small business owners, government will not save you. Open up and save yourselves. I think that’s where we’re at.”

“There are no monies for me. There’s lot of government entities saying, ‘Hey Bill, we feel really bad. We’ll do everything we can for you.’ But, nobody’s written me a check.”

“We are starving. As honest as I can possibly be. In the case of Summit Motorsports Park, we’ve had a couple of really wet years. I spent $1.5-million on a new racing surface and I borrowed the money for it. I spent a half million on lighting upgrades and borrowed the money for it.”

“About $3.5 million I’ve spent in the last three years. Why? Because I wanted to have a nicer facility. The Bader way was always to re-invest everything you had in your race track. That was my dads philosophy and that’s my philosophy.”

“I didn’t plan for a pandemic. I never put money away for the rainy day. That’s biting me in the ass right now.”

The drag strip is set to open

“We find ourselves in a position that is an uncomfortable one. I must get open. We are opening.”

“Summit Motorsports Park is not going to wait for permission. [We’re] not going to wait for Dr. Fauci, Amy Acton (Ohio Department of Health), Mike Dewine (Ohio governor) because none of them even know I exist. And none of them really care.”

“At this point, in the interest of self-preservation and wanting to maintain an incredible legacy that my family started here in 1974. We are opening this race track.”

“We will open this year. It was my intention to announce opening day. Unfortunately, I can’t do that tonight. I’m going to do that next week.”

“Please understand something and hear me when I say this, I’m not asking. I’m opening. There’s certain amount of risk involved.”

I wouldn’t want the liability.

“But, I am being asked to sit here and slowly die. I don’t do that well. I’m not going to watch my family’s hard work go down the drain at the hands of a machine that I don’t even understand.”

“If the numbers are down, the outbreaks are down, if the number of death are down… Dr Fauci said today on ESPN that there will be no spectator sports open this year.”

On Thursday, the United States added 30,000 new cases of COVID-19. The virus is very much out there. The spread of new cases is down, only because people haven’t been gathering in grandstands. They’ve been sitting in their living rooms, doing nothing.

“The event business will be the last segment to open. I’ve been told on more than one occasion, don’t expect to get open this year. That’s the reality.”


“Yet, I’m looking at outbreaks being down, the number of fatalities being down.”

New York has 752 deaths on Wednesday and 11,525 new cases. It’s the populated areas, where it spreads the quickest.

“Which leads me to believe there’s something else at play. What’s really driving the shutdown of America?”

This virus has a 5% death rate with 6,000 new deaths on Thursday.

“What’s the machine, behind the curtain that’s driving this. The long and short of it is, I don’t believe the shutdown of America is solely about saving lives.”

“There was an over-reaction to COVID-19. Nobody is willing to step up and say we over-reacted. Nobody is willing to step up and get America back to work and opened back up again.”

“They want to shut this country down for as long as possible. My guess is, at least up until the election.”

“We’re going to get back to the business of family entertainment at Summit Motorsports Park. Mike DeWine, if you don’t like it, you come and see me on opening day. With god as my witness, we are opening this race track.”

I hope the track can survive. I just hope they can figure out a way to do it without opening the grandstands.

The track has plans to announce their opening day in a new video that will be posted next week.

If you want to view the entire video from this week, it can be viewed below:


Race tracks shouldn’t open grandstands at all in 2020


Summit Motorsports Park