The North Carolina race track found a clever way around the gathering limits; They called the race a ‘peaceful protest’ and welcomed thousands to their rally
Over the weekend, The CARS Tour had an event planned at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina.
The track already hosted an event with thousands, weeks prior. The North Carolina race track was already on the radar of Gov. Roy Cooper heading into the weekend.
Alamance County officials gave the track the go-ahead as they were unclear of Governor’s order. They also stated that they didn’t intend to enforce the state order which brought comments from the Governor’s office.
“That is a dangerous situation that ought to concern all the local officials and all the citizens surrounding that venue,” Cooper said during a press briefing in late May after a previous race at Ace Speedway. “It is a completely reckless way to operate.”
CARS Tour event: Attempts to prevent the race
This week, a letter was sent to Alamance County officials from the Governor’s office insisting the limits on the track be enforced. Despite the Sheriff’s office intent to do so in the week prior.
North Carolina is currently in Phase 2 of their re-opening plan. That includes limits of 25 people for outdoor events.
These limits are being discussed while during the same week, thousands gathered in the streets up Uptown Charlotte and Raleigh to protest the death of George Floyd.
However, the Governor asked Sheriff Terry Johnson to take all necessary steps to make sure the track was complying with Coronavirus restrictions. That message was sent on June 5, the Friday leading into the race weekend.
“This event is held in peaceful protest of injustice and inequality everywhere,” a sign outside the track entrance gate read.
Inside, fans held up signs that read, “Racing for rights.”
With the new loophole in place, the 1/3-mile asphalt oval put on a show.
“A lot of folks don’t understand this racetrack as a small business, and with all the COVID-19 situation, a lot of small businesses have been put under a lot of great pressure, and many of them have closed. This race track has reached a point where they had to race or they were going to run out of money and were going to have to close,” Randy Pettit said.
Social distancing wasn’t a thing in the grandstands on Saturday night. However, the track did have a health screening in place via a temperature checks.
After the event, The office of the Sheriff released a statement, “The Sheriff’s Office is currently evaluating the events at Ace Speedway.”
The violation could bring a class 2 misdemeanor for the track owner. That would carry a fine. In this case, the fans who attended would be off the hook. Only the track owner could catch a fine.
We could find out today if the track will be penalized in any way from the state.
Update: Gov Roy Cooper
On Monday afternoon, the NC Governor’s office took questions from the press. The situation with the race track was brought up…
“People shouldn’t run a money-making operation, that puts in danger, not only their customers but anybody who would come into contact with their customers,” stated on Monday afternoon.
“This is a reckless decision being made by the owners, pulling people together. That can cause spread of the virus.”
“Alamance County is one of the counties that is having higher numbers than it should have. We look forward to taking some action on this in the coming week.”
There’s 494 cases of COVID-19 in Alamance County, resulting in 23 deaths so far. 29 new active cases were added yesterday in the county.
“It’s concerning that Alamance officials have not been able to stop this. We would hope that they could. But, if they can’t, then the state will have to take action.”
“Which we will do, this week, if the local officials don’t,” Cooper added.