The South Dakota tracks pre-sold tickets; Sellout on deck but fans will now be refunded
Two race tracks in the area of South Dakota were scheduled to race this weekend. Originally, these events were to be scheduled with fans in the grandstands.
And the avid dirt racing fans were set to come in bulk. Former NASCAR stars Kenny Wallace and Kenny Schrader were among the dirt racing drivers set to attend the show in Jefferson, SD.
Tickets went on sale in advance in the case of Jefferson, South Dakota’s The New Raceway Park event. Nearly a week ahead of schedule, the event was sold out of all 700 tickets available.
The New Raceway Park was requiring all in attendance to wear a face mask. In the event that rule was violated more than once, the violators were set to be thrown out.
Park Jefferson in North Sioux City, South Dakota is also set to host the “Open Wheel Nationals” on April 25th paying $5,000 to win for the 410 sprint cars. The New Raceway Park has their event scheduled for April 26th.
On Tuesday, the South Dakota Governor was asked directly about the races being held this weekend.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem reacts to the races
“I can encourage people not to go. I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to attend,” Gov. Kristi Noem stated.
“I still recommend that people follow the plans that I have laid out for South Dakota. Where we don’t gather in sizes over 10. And that folks continue to social distance.”
“Nothing’s changed. From the projections that I’ve laid out several weeks ago, we still expect our peak infection and hospitalization rate will happen the middle of June.”
“That means we need to continue what we’re doing. And that is staying home. Not going out and taking unnecessary trips. Not gathering in large groups.”
“If people no longer do that then we have an opportunity for virus infections to spike. If everyone were to ignore those guidelines at one time, we could potentially overwhelm our healthcare system.”
“I am going to strongly recommend to the people of South Dakota that they not go and they stay home.”
Noem was asked if she could do anything else to prevent the races from happening.
“I’m going to continue to recommend that people not go. That’s the course of action that I’ll be taking,” Noem concluded.
Fans not allowed
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is one of the few that have yet to issue any stay at home orders for her state. She intended to push guidelines, not regulations.
However, since that news conference, things have changed…
Both tracks released near identical statements. Each of them plan to issue refunds to ticket holders as each event will now be run without fans per government recommendations.
New Raceway Park issues statement
The New Raceway Park has elected not to allow spectators into the facility. They plan to issue a refund of all tickets.
“RACING WILL CONTINUE AS PLANNED however due to the pressure we have been receiving from the South Dakota Governors office, county commissioner’s office, the health department and the CDC — We have decided to continue the races this Sunday April 26, 2020 as planned however WE WILL NOT have those of you that planned on coming in as spectators into the grandstands as planed,” the track said in a statement.
“We will offer COMPLETE REFUNDS. We will post at a later time today instructions on how you can get your refunds. However you will still be able to watch the races from the safety and comfort of your home on advantage racing tv.”
“We apologize for any inconvenience that we have created. And hope you all understand our reasoning for this decision,” the track statement concluded.
The track received some backlash. Some elected to contract track sponsors to hurt the track.
“Safety is the first concern of course, but we also had a lot of heat from a lot of people and we just want everyone to understand that we were running this show or the way we were trying to do this is also the way that we can get back to doing things like this, with more safety involved than you see in other places around town,” said the owner of Raceway Park.
Park Jefferson International Speedway issues statement
Park Jefferson has a nearly identical announcement:
“After discussions with the South Dakota Department of Health, other state officials and county commissioners, Front Row Challenge Motorsports and Park Jefferson Speedway have decided to run Saturday’s Open Wheel Nationals event without spectators.”
“Governor Noem and her team have been doing a great job leading our state and have asked the citizens to be smart and innovative in how they operate. While we felt we were innovative in how we were addressing fan safety by abiding by the CDC guidelines, we also know the importance of working with our officials guidance on fan attendance.”
“We truly appreciate the outpouring of support from all of the fans and sanctioning bodies for our event. And we hope to be able to offer you the chance to come to Park Jefferson Speedway for an event in the very near future. We hope you will still join us Saturday live on Speed Shift TV for an exciting night of 410 sprint cars and IMCA Modified racing.”
“For spectators holding tickets, you will be receiving an email notice that we are refunding your tickets back to the card you purchased the tickets with and hope you can join us at the track in the near future.”