Daugherty Speedway was set to host an event with fans during stay-at-home order; Government officials put up barricades to block track; Protests scheduled for today; Sheriff responds
Daugherty Speedway decided to push against the state, they lost and now the track owner is forced to drive through the luscious green grass to get home.
The Indiana dirt track had a race scheduled for today. That event was promoted for several weeks to “reclaim constitutional rights” in the middle of a stay-at-home order for the state of Indiana.
Four classes were set to race. Three of them were capped at just over 30 cars. A complete roster of 100+ cars were set to attend the event.
Fan tickets were pre-sold online for the limited grandstand attendance. The track encouraged fans to wear masks but it was not required. By Thursday, the event was sold-out.
Indiana: Phase 2 of re-opening
At the same time, the state of Indiana is currently on phase two of a stay at home order. As recently as May 4th, most of the state moved to phase 2.
This new phase allows more business to open. Speedways and specifically, grandstands, were not included. Gatherings are still limited to 25 people.
“In Stage 2, we’ll be easing restrictions in a measured way – although local governments may impose more local strict guidelines as conditions dictate,” a statement from the Indiana Governor detailed.
The Governor’s letter continued, “We are lifting the essential travel restrictions and permitting social gatherings of up to 25 people, following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.”
All of the above actions from the track, grabbed the attention of Indiana state governor Eric Holcomb as it’s a direct violation of well, everything.
In turn, the Gov sent a letter to the track directly, stating that practice sessions would soon be allowed but fans could not gather in the grandstands.
The track decided, “This is not good enough.”
So, they continued to press on with the originally scheduled plan to run an event today with four classes of cars and moderately filled grandstands.
Soon after, a new letter was delivered to the track address, this time is was a Cease and Desist letter with threats of jail, fines and business disruption for the business owner.
A similar letter was sent to other tracks in the state. Even in the karting world, such as the case for New Castle Motorsports Park.
To the surprise of the dirt track owner, barricades were then placed at the entrance to the race track. This ensured now fans would park in the lot. The event was then canceled.
Daugherty Speedway is now putting on a new event, a protesting event
Fans have claimed to have received refunds of their ticket purchases.
As he came to the closed barricades, the track owner picked up his phone and recorded a nearly 30-minute live video of his thoughts.
“If we were to have a fire or anything at the track, my buildings would burn down because they cannot get through. How is this legal? That somebody can deny me access to my private property.”
The sheriff’s department came out to the track moments later. They explained that access to his private property was not denied. He just had to go through the grass to get to it.
Mr. Daugherty did not like this. As going through the grass would, “rut up the grass.”
“They’re making a great case for stomping on my constitutional rights as an American citizen. I have a skid-steer. I’m sure if I move this, they’ll trump up some kind of legal charge to arrest me. They’re itching to do it. They’ve been flying by this track, all day long.”
“Just a private land owner trying to get into my property to shut my water off before it freezes tonight. I can’t do it.”
Apparently, when roads are blocked, legs no longer work.
The track has now organized a protest. It will take place at the Benton County Courthouse between 1-5pm on Saturday May 9, 2020.
“This will be a peaceful protest. I will be bringing signs calling for the resignation of Sheriff Munson as well as EMA Director Jason Fisher. We are inviting news media as well as food trucks,” the event info reads.
“The Benton County EMA Director as well as the Benton County Sheriff has violated the rights of racers and fans.”
Benton County Indiana Sheriff’s Department
The Sheriff’s office received a few calls. It prompted them to release a statement:
“The Benton County Sheriff’s Dept did not put up the barricades at the racetrack. That was something the commissioners instructed the county highway dept to do.”
“Neither I, nor any of my Deputies, have trampled Mr. Daugherty’s civil liberties. Unfortunately we only get to clean up the mess that everyone else starts.”
“Mr. Daugherty brought attention to himself knowing advertising discounted tickets for seniors over 60 (the at risk covid group) and children (the asymptomatic group) would be a controversy. He advertised on FB how big the event would be.”
“He, in turn, threw all the other race tracks like Peru’s Circus City Track under the bus saying well they’re racing why can’t I. This was during his conversation with ISP which brought the attention of the Governor and ISP to the entire race track network of Indiana.”
“Look I get it, everyone is ready to get our freedom back. I am right there with you. So make sure you understand the bigger picture. The Cease and Desist order came from the State.”
“It was by the direction of Governor Holcomb handed down to ISP directly to their Superintendent. It was only after Mr. Daugherty said, ‘unless i get a Cease and Desist order I’m racing’ that he forced their hand.”
“So if you want to waste your Saturday afternoon at
Benton Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
105 S. Lincoln Ave.
then come on down and hang out. Keep 6 feet apart, practice social distancing and keep your groups smaller than 25 people. It’s supposed to be a nice day and we are all in this together. Just make sure you get the facts and not one person’s perspective.”
Sheriff Don Munson