South Dakota short tracks change course; will race without fans

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Two dirt track races scheduled for this weekend in South Dakota will go on, but without fans in attendance. Saturday’s Open Wheel Nationals at Park Jefferson Speedway in North Sioux City was scheduled to run with 700 fans in attendance. Sunday’s race in Jefferson at The New Raceway Park was scheduled to have 500 fans.

Both tracks were far below their seating capacity in order to allow for social distancing.

“After discussions with the South Dakota Department of Health, other state officials and county commissioners, Front Row Challenge Motorsports and Park Jefferson Speedway have decided to run Saturday’s Open Wheel Nationals event without spectators,” the track stated in a release on their website.

“While we felt we were innovative in how we were addressing fan safety by abiding by the CDC guidelines, we also know the importance of working with our officials’ guidance on fan attendance,” the release said.

In addition to limiting the number of fans in attendance, both tracks had measures in place to limit fan interaction with one another and drivers. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said she would not prohibit the races but encouraged constituents not to attend.

“Racing will continue as planned. However, due to the pressure we have been receiving from the South Dakota governors office, county commissioner’s office, the health department and the CDC, we have decided to continue the races this Sunday April 26, 2020 as planned, however, we will not have those of you that planned on coming in as spectators into the grandstands,” The New Raceway park announced on Facebook.

Ticket refunds will be made by both tracks.

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