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Eldora Speedway donates nearly 3,000 facemasks to community

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Eldora Speedway has joined the effort in battling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, donating critical supply

General manager Roger Slack said he began planning to secure facemasks in case Eldora Speedway decided to hold a few events without a crowd but needing masks for employees, their families and race teams.

Working with friends in Shanghai (who had warned about the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak), Slack took delivery on 2,800 masks from overseas last week – after the Centers for Disease Control had recommended limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people.

HELPING OUT: Team switches to manufacturing facemasks

With Eldora Speedway remaining closed to the public (and its staff working from home since mid-March), Slack put out word in the region around the Rossburg, Ohio, dirt track that he would like to donate the masks to emergency workers who needed personal protective equipment. Within 30 minutes of contacting local hospitals and officials, all of the masks had been committed.

Slack said anywhere from 50 to 200 went to several local volunteer rescue squads that were rationing one mask per volunteer. More than 1,000 masks went to PremierHealth, which staffs Eldora’s infield care center with members of its Level 1 Trauma Center at Miami Valley Hospital and supports nearly every event with standby service via its CareFlight medical helicopter service.

“Nobody was greedy, they all just asked for whatever we could spare,” Slack told NBCSports.com

The half-mile track sent hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves and masks from its infield care center to a locally based manufacturing company that’s an essential business and was running low on personal protective equipment for its employees.

Eldora was scheduled to open its 67th season April 18, but Slack said last week “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.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).