Dirt tracks reverse course, cancel their weekend racing programs

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After a controversial decision by some to race last weekend despite the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), more dirt tracks are putting events on hiatus.

In a statement on its website, Williams Grove Speedway announced it won’t hold racing Friday based on recommendations of Gov. Tom Wolf. The track in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, held its traditional opening day March 13 with the tacit support of the governor and had planned to continue this weekend.

Wolf apparently has reversed course from Monday when he said he wouldn’t make tracks in his state cancel their races.

According to multiple reports, Lancaster Motor Speedway in Lancaster Country, South Carolina (about 35 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina), also has decided to cancel its Saturday program of racing.

The track in Lancaster, South Carolina, initially canceled its March 22 program Wednesday but then decided Thursday that the races would happen.

A Facebook post from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office read, “There have been a lot of conversations this week concerning the race tomorrow night at Lancaster Motor Speedway. After those conversations, the officials at Lancaster Motor Speedway have made the decision to cancel tomorrow night’s race out of concern for their fans and the general public.”

Here’s the statement from Williams Grove Speedway on canceling its March 20 program:

“Williams Grove Speedway will not be racing this Friday, March 20, based on the recommendations of the governor of Pennsylvania. The status of future races will be announced. Keep up to date on all speedway news and information by visiting the oval’s official website at http://www.williamsgrove.com.”

The dirt racing season has yet to open at some tracks around the country.

Eldora Speedway, perhaps the country’s most famous dirt track, tweeted a photo last week of snow blanketing its famous half-mile. The 2020 schedule on its website still shows as opening its 67th season April 18 with Dirt Late Models, Modifieds and Super Stocks.

“There will be early season events affected and postponed, but the situation changes so rapidly that it’s difficult to know how many or what dates are available for rescheduling,” Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack told NBCSports.com via text. “We have been following the guidance and recommendations of the State of Ohio and the federal government and urge all of our race fans and competitors to do so as well.”