Florence Speedway case taken to Supreme Court by Kentucky Governor

Dirt track at the center of state Supreme Court case

Gov. Andy Beshear has state orders in place that prevent mass gatherings such as concert venues, day care center and racetracks. However, Florence Speedway continues to host events.

Last Thursday, the Governor also required most residents in the state to wear face masks when in public places.

The recent event at the speedway saw the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. I was there. Grandstands weren’t totally packed but the people who were there saw the closest finish in series history at .002 seconds.

Close to zero fans wore a mask at Florence Speedway.

Two court rulings sided with the speedway in regards to mass gatherings.. Those cases were heard in Boone and Scott circuit courts. They resulted in a restraining order on the Governor’s executive orders.

On Monday, Judge Glenn Acree struck down Beshear’s urge to re-instate the executive order from the Governor’s office. The ruling allows the track to continue operations as usual.

“Kentuckians have taken measures they believe must be taken to protect themselves, those they know and love and those they are yet to meet,” Acree wrote.

The judge added, “And by their innate wisdom and common sense, they succeeded in keeping Kentucky ranked among states with the lowest per capita incidence of coronavirus.”

Related: Government officials barricade race track to prevent event; Canceled

Florence Speedway dirt track case moves to the Kentucky Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the Governor submitted the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court. The letter noted, “the Commonwealth is in a life and death battle against COVID-19.”

That’s a step not usually seen. Typically, cases are sent to the court of appeals before a trip to the Supreme Court.

The Governor escalated the case calling it, “the gravest threat to public health in over a century.”

The Governor sent a 37-page document to the courts.

“A delayed judicial holding vindicating the governor’s actions is no remedy at all for those Kentuckians who may become sick, who may spread the disease to others, or who may die while the restraining orders remain in effect,” Beshear’s complaint read.

Related: Speedway facing possible fine after violating state orders

Earl Pearson Jr and Kyle Strickler at Florence Speedway - Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 8223
Earl Pearson Jr and Kyle Strickler at Florence Speedway – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 8223

Lawyer of Florence Speedway and Attorney General battle the Governor

Chris Wiest represents the speedway against the state ruling. He also represents other businesses in the state against similar actions.

“The governor believes he is above the law in filing an appeal the law does not allow him to take, and he fails to explain why Limited Duration Childcare Centers, which have operated since March, can operate with groups of 75 children while allegedly a group in a childcare center of 28 children is a threat,” Weist told the Courier Journal.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron has added his name to the lawsuits against the Democratic Governor.

“Instead of taking a hard look at why his executive orders continue to be struck down by courts at every level, the governor would rather bypass the normal legal process to try and secure a favorable ruling by suing three of the judges who ruled against him,” Cameron said.

“Despite not having clearly defined the emergency, the Governor then issued a series of restrictive executive orders, effectively shuttering the Commonwealth’s economy and dictating the manner in which Kentucky’s citizens lead their lives,” Cameron told the court in Scott County hearing.

“This is not about the Governor’s policies, it’s about making sure he follows the law,” Cameron later wrote via twitter.


Florence Speedway | Kentucky Supreme Court | Gov. Andy Beshear