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Audio show corrections
The Contra Coast County curfew has been lifted.
Lakeport Speedway has been approved for practice this Saturday and races on June 13th and 20th.
We were talking about the lawyer from Southern California working with WoO on covid-19 guidelines. This was Agajanian. I knew I had the wrong name as I did the show, but had trouble recalling the name that should have been obvious to me.
Audio show corrections
The Contra Coast County curfew has been lifted.
Lakeport Speedway has been approved for practice this Saturday and races on June 13th and 20th.
We were talking about the lawyer from Southern California working with WoO on covid-19 guidelines. This was Agajanian. I knew I had the wrong name as I did the show, but had trouble recalling the name that should have been obvious to me.
IMCA Modifieds, Tri State Pro Stock Series Headline
Three Division Show At Antioch Speedway
Three Division Show At Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...This Saturday night, Antioch Speedway will be holding its third consecutive event on the quarter-mile clay oval in front of an empty grandstands. Due to the covid-19 guidelines that are put in place, the speedway still can't have fans to enjoy a night of good racing at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds facility. However, the event will once again be broadcast on internet pay-per-view at Dirt Oval TV.
There had been some concern as to whether or not this race could happen at the scheduled time due to the county supervisors putting a strict 8 pm curfew on the public due to all the looting and rioting going on along with the protests. However, it was just announced that the curfew has been lifted and the speedway will be able to operate under normal circumstances. The first race is set to fire off at around 6 pm. The IMCA Modifieds are back for their third race of the year, joined by the Tri State Pro Stock Series and local Super Stocks in a combined race and the local Hobby Stocks.
IMCA has the point standings listed on their official website. After four events are in the books, it becomes an officially acknowledged IMCA championship. On Memorial Day Weekend, Oregon's Collen Winebarger came to town and picked up both of the victories. This gives him a six-point advantage over Troy Foulger in the standings and an 11 point lead over 2018 State champion Shane DeVolder. The latter two competitors are anticipated, though there is no word on whether Winebarger will make the trip down. Willamette Speedway Late Model star Joey Tanner has said he will be there.
Foulger and car owner Billy Bowers teamed up to win four consecutive championships at Antioch Speedway from 2010 through 2013. Last season, they won the IMCA Modified championship at Merced Speedway, and they've been a factor at many race tracks in which they've visited in recent years. They were anticipating going for the championship at Antioch prior to the covid-19 situation, and it looks like they will probably be at any race Antioch Speedway holds for the class this year. The same holds true for DeVolder, who backed up the 2017 IMCA Sport Modified State championship with the State title in the Modified division a year later.
Oregon's John Campos was tied with DeVolder going into this race. While he may not be there, it's just possible that reigning IMCA State champion Trevor Fitzgibbon will be. Trevor had a Top 5 feature finish two weeks ago, which has him 12 points behind Winebarger. 2018 Merced Speedway champion Darrell Hughes II is only a point behind Fitzgibbon. Antioch Speedway will be the only track in the State running Modifieds, which means it's the only game in town if you want to race your car.
Past Antioch and two-time Wild West Speedweek Series champion Kellen Chadwick is anticipated along with reigning track champion Buddy Kniss and 2016 title winner Bobby Motts Jr. Austin Burke and Cody Burke, winners of the past two championships at Watsonville, are anticipated as well. It should be an exciting show for the IMCA Modifieds that will be worth tuning into on Dirt Oval TV.
Promoter Chad Chadwick made some adjustments with the Super Stock rules in the hopes of sparking renewed interest in the division. With the Late Model division sort of fading away in California, this is the heir apparent to the class, but affordability must be a factor moving forward. Reigning track champion Kimo Oreta is expected to be here. Oreta piloted the Sun Drop Racing #15 car to his second championship in the class. The team itself also has five championships with Antioch Speedway Hall of Famer Larry Damitz behind the wheel. Other locals who should be on hand for this event include longtime Antioch competitor Mike Walko, Chad Hammer, Chris Long and Terry DeCarlo.
The Tri State Pro Stock Series was created by Roy Bain and Gordon Russell Jr prior to the 2019 season. The idea behind this class is to unite the rules in the Pro Stock/Super Stock division to allow for car count growth and the ability for drivers to travel to other places and know that they are legal. The group has driver's hailing from California, Oregon and Nevada. They already have two races in the record books. They both happened at Stockton and were won by Nevada's Jesse Gonzalez. On one occasion, he beat Ryan Cherezian for the victory. Both drivers are anticipated for this race.
Reigning series champion Mike Learn is no stranger to winning races at Antioch Speedway, and he'll be in town to try for another win along with Nevada Late Model veteran Bill Pearson, Brett Lawrence and Chaz Thompson. From the southern side of California, Late Model veteran Jerry Stewart is anticipated along with Ryan Smith, Bakersfield Street Stock champion Brady Bell and Dave King Jr. With Petaluma being forced to cancel their show for the Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks, three-time champion Mitch Machado is anticipated along with past champion Matt While and division rookie Randy Miramontez.
The decision to open up the rules in the Hobby Stock division to allow drivers from other tracks to visit Antioch is going to make the division that much more competitive. This was highlighted by the Memorial Day Weekend event that saw two of Watsonville's top drivers score the victories. On Saturday it was Joe Gallaher and on Sunday it was his son and three-time Watsonville champion Rob Gallaher. Both drivers should be on hand for this race. Last season's championship runner-up, Breanna Troen, should be there to give it a good run. Past Antioch truck and Petaluma Dwarf Car champion Travis Dutra has joined the class and picked up a pair of Top 5 finishes on Memorial Day Weekend. Also joining the division with an impressive Top 5 run that weekend was Trent Wentworth, who is also anticipated. There are some good drivers in this class, which should see the car count reach into the 20s at least this time around. Some of the drivers to watch for include last season's top rookie Ken Johns, James Thomson and Josh Leach. This is sure to be an exciting three division program.
Antioch Speedway has been the talk of the internet after it's strong start in terms of car count over the past two races and practice before that. This show of IMCA Modifieds, Pro Stocks/Super Stocks and Hobby Stocks will be entertaining from start to finish. Though the fans are not allowed in the grandstands, you can watch all of the action on Dirt Oval TV. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Dixon Speedway Roars Into Action On Saturday Night
Dixon, CA...Dixon Speedway returns to action this Saturday night with a full lineup of 600 Micro Sprint racing on the 1/5 mile dirt oval. This will be the first of two straight Saturday nights of racing, and the car count should be big once again this weekend with no other tracks in the state running these classes. Unfortunately, the grandstands will still be closed to spectators, and there was no word at press time regarding any place to watch internet pay-per-view. However, that could be updated at any time on the Dixon Speedway Facebook page. Competing divisions will include the Wingless 600 Micros, Super 600 Micros, Restricted Micros and the Junior Sprinters.
With three races in the books, Kelvin Lewis is listed as the Wingless Sprint point leader. Lewis had a second-place finish at one of the Memorial Day Weekend events. His lead is 21 points over Travis Sullivan, who also had a second place finish during Memorial Day Weekend. Only 13 points behind Sullivan is Timothy Vaught. Cody Gray, who finished 3rd in the Sunday portion of the Memorial Day Weekend action, is just two points behind Vaught, while Robbie Lewis, who had a third place finish in the other Memorial Day Weekend show, is 11 points behind Gray in fifth. 47 points separate the Top 5 drivers in the standings. Brandon Carey won the first two races of the season with a good shot at three in a row before mechanical issues took him out of the Sunday show, which was won by Brandon Shaw. Austin Stone finished second in the season opener.
The fastest division of the group is the Super 600 class, and it's a good race at the top of the standings. Brad Hannum leads Devon Courtnier by just one tally. These two drivers won the Memorial Day Weekend feature races, and Hannam also had a second place finish in the season opener. 37 points behind Courtnier in third is two-time reigning champion Kyle Mentch. Mentch finished third in the Saturday portion of the Memorial Day Weekend event. He has a nine point lead over Sage Bordenave. 33 points behind Bordenave in the fifth position is Hailey Wood. Corey Day won the season-opening event. Caeden Steele is the only driver with all podium finishes so far, including a second in the Saturday portion of Memorial Day Weekend action. Gage Garcia finished second at the Sunday race.
Shifting gears to the Restricted Micro division, we have another good battle at the top as only 25 points separate the Top 5 drivers in the standings. With back-to-back wins on Memorial Day Weekend, Austin Wood leads Izaak Sharp by 14 points. Sharp finished third in the season opener and finds himself tied with Brandon Riveira for the runner-up spot. Riveira had a third place finish at the Saturday race during Memorial Day Weekend. 11 points behind Sharp and Riveira is Bryant Bell, who finished second at the Sunday race. Bell and Matthew Tatoole are tied for fourth. Tatoole had a runner-up finish at the Saturday portion of Memorial Day Weekend. Dalton Parreira won the season opener ahead of Colin Kirby.
The entry level Junior Sprint division has been very interesting to watch with the increase in car count so far this year. Kyle Fernandez won the season opener and had second and third place finishes during Memorial Day Weekend. He has a 27 point lead over Brody Rubio, who checks in with a pair of third place finishes. 16 points behind Rubio is Hayden Stepps, and reigning champion MaKayla Tatoole is 10 points behind Stepps. Ranking fifth is the most recent feature winner Braxon Vasconcellos. Lucas Mauldin makes it three different feature winners in as many races, and Nathan Ward has a pair of second place finishes to his credit.
There's been plenty of thrills, excitement and great racing action at Dixon Speedway so far this year. Word on any live streaming being available will be put out on the track's Facebook page. Also, the Race Monitor app is usually hooked into the track scoring unit, and that enables you to watch live scoring on race night to keep track of all of the action. For further information on this race and other happenings at the speedway, go to www.dixonspeedway.net or check the Dixon Speedway Facebook page.
Full Weekend Of Practice At Siskiyou Golden Speedway
Yreka, CA...One thing is for sure. By the time an actual race is scheduled at Siskiyou Golden Speedway, the racers will know that their cars are dialed in. Promoter Kevin Barba has taken full advantage of the guidelines the county has given him to make the best use of the race track. This means that lots of limited practice sessions have been held at the dirt oval for the past two weekends, and there are three days of practice scheduled again for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Despite the fact that rain eliminated Saturday last weekend, the two days of practice that the track did have saw over two dozen competitors across seven different divisions make practice laps on Friday and Sunday. Barba and his crew were working non-stop to make everything right for the racers, and they had to put in extra effort after Saturday's rain to even make Sunday's practice possible. They didn't have time to think about it as it was announced on Monday that there would be three more practices this weekend.
While the staff would like to open the gates to a race this weekend, county health officials still aren't prepared to give clearance just yet. They have been monitoring the situation at the speedway and are pleased with how the covid-19 guidelines have been handled under these limited practice conditions. Therefore, they allowed this weekend's activities to proceed. This meant that track officials have opened up a certain amount of spots for each day for racers to come with their crews and test their cars.
The spots have filled up very quickly, and attempts to contact the Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page may not result in securing a spot at this point. Drivers in various divisions are again planning to make some laps. Some of the people on the list include IMCA Sport Modified competitors Ethan Killingsworth, Jorddon Braaton, Chris Silva, Brionna Fuller and Ryder Boswell. Pro Stock racers planning to make laps include Matt Harlow, Steve Borror, Darek Alford and division newcomer Michael McLeod. Dwarf Car racers Fred Hay, Trevor Davis and Chad Cardoza will be there. There are several others who have reserved their spots as well, meaning the track will be alive with the sound of race cars.
You can expect that the crew will be working hard all weekend to make sure the track is prepared as well as possible. Privately, Barba and his team are hopeful that the green light will be given to open for a race in front of empty grandstands on the 13th, but we will have to wait and see what is said at the early part of next week. A hopeful sign may have been given from the Yreka Outlaw Kart track at the fairgrounds. They have been given permission for a gathering of 100 people to hold a racing program on Friday, June 12th. As of this writing, 64 slots have been taken up with 23 Karts signed up. Only 36 spots remained, but it's likely that those will all be taken by the time the race happens. Could a race at the big track be happening soon?
In the meantime, three days of practice is better than no time at the track at all, and racers from the Yreka area and Southern Oregon are taking advantage of the opportunity to test their cars. Speculation is that the track will have a race very soon. The best place to find the announcement when it's made is the Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page.
The Editor's Viewpoint
I kind of blew the plan earlier this week, but if you're reading this, it means the plan to do a second post at the end of the week is still in effect. Every day news comes in, and Monday evening saw a few news items that I wanted to add to the last post. I even added another article at the last minute, but I found myself mentally drained at that point. I figured I'd take a two hour nap and get up a little past midnight to do the audio show and get that post done. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the morning. Guess I really needed the sleep.
I figured it was still just before 9 in the morning, so I'd do the audio show and get the post up. Wrong. First of all, I don't have any fancy podcasting equipment. I speak into a cracked cell phone with no phone service. I messed up on the first attempt about halfway through it. No problem. I started over and got to about five minutes from the finish when I got the message that I ran out of storage space. I hate when that happens, and it happens more than it should. After deleting files, I did the show again. I missed my 30 minute mark by about 20 minutes. I don't intentionally want to do 50 minute programs, but it ends up that way.
This is a lesson that a dinosaur like me has a hard time learning. You need to get to the point quicker. Get in, get out. Audio shows should be 10 minutes long, no more than 15. Blog posts should have brief articles of anywhere from five to eight paragraphs at most, and you shouldn't have a bunch of articles. Obviously, I'm not doing any of it the way the blogging experts would recommend. My blog posts are generally like one of my printed magazines, only you're reading it on a computer screen. Magazines went out the window thanks to technology. But, I'm rambling here.
It was around 11 when the show was done. Normally, I'd listen through it to make sure I didn't misspeak too badly. I catch little errors sometimes that I'll let go, but I have to do it over if I have some major blunder. I'm doing a lot of stuff from my mind and off-the-cuff. The mind is good, but it's not as good as it once was. Anyway, because I was running late, I went ahead and just tried to upload it. Wrong. There was an issue at Daily Motion, and this process stretched three hours before I finally got something done. At 2 pm, the blog post was finally published. Nothing like being a good 14 or so hours late.
What I would like to do this year is make sure I get a post up early in the week. If I can't do it on Sunday night, I'd like to have it up on Monday. This is because I'm dealing with news. I want to get those articles about the weekend's races up as soon as possible. I'm also gradually working on a Viewpoint article. They usually start Friday afternoon, and I add a little bit each day. So, there was four days worth of information and observations in the Viewpoint. It was a very long column, probably too long.
Stress levels didn't get too high for me, but I admit I was frustrated with myself for not getting the post up on Monday. Tuesday morning was not fun. I'm already working on Tuesday afternoon for the next post. If this does go up, it should go up on Thursday night or Friday morning at the latest. This would be an update on whatever news is breaking in the effort to open up race tracks. It's a day-to-day process. Various promoters have to speak with their county health officials to make sure they meet guidelines that will allow them to do whatever it is they are doing. Will it be a practice of some sort? Will they be racing? That's the big question.
What we're dealing with right now is preventing us from having a grandstand full of fans watching the race. This is what the promoters really need. They're desperate for something, and promoters having races in front of empty grandstands are not necessarily happy about it. If you give them 25% of the grandstands, this enables them to sell as many tickets, in some cases, as they get on an average night. It depends on the venue. After they mark off the seating with six foot spacing and all of that, tracks can still sell somewhere between 500 and 700 tickets. All they need is permission to do so.
Then, it becomes what else do you have to do to meet the guidelines? Can you open up your concession stands? How are you going to handle the bathrooms with so many people using them? Do you need hand sanitizer dispensers around the area so people can wash their hands? Are you enforcing a mask rule? Will you be required to take people's temperatures before they come in? Can you accept cash? These are the kinds of things promoters are going to have to figure out before they can get to the the point where they can have fans. You also have to take into account that counties have to crunch the numbers of covid-19 cases to see what can be allowed. Now, we could have fans at some tracks by the end of June, but I am guessing.
It does seem kind of ludicrous in light of the situation we're in now that we're worried about social distancing and all of that. I don't think the numbers have necessarily justified the fear they are instilling in us or all the hoops we have to just jump through to get back to business. In light of the civil unrest across the country, we may be having to worry about curfews or those kinds of things at some places. It certainly is a crazy time.
When you get into legalese and getting permits, sometimes it's all in the wording. This is certainly true for getting permissions to go racing again. I've used the example of the Sacramento Raceway Stadium Oval next to the drag strip. It's a neat little track that's been used for Motorcycles and Karts and that sort of thing. In the 1990s, they wanted to run big cars on the track. Because they used the term Stadium Oval, somehow that got them the permits to have a nice run of Friday night Stock Car racing for about five years.
If you get too cute with the idea, they can shut you down. I don't know if Coos Bay had officially entered Phase 1 yet when Drake Nelson hit on the idea to rename his track Coos Bay Speedway Bar And Grill. Because bar and grills could open at Phase 1 in limited capacity, he figured the new classification would allow him to run a race in front of at least some fans. He got as far as a Friday night drag race before he was shut down. They were talking Memorial Day Weekend at the oval track, but that obviously went out the window.
Madera Speedway was really at the forefront of California tracks working hard to open while working with state and county officials. I know the World of Outlaws did what they did, and some of the venues on the West Coast have follow their model. Promoter Kenny Shepherd didn't have that to work with when he worked on a five-phase plan that would see them go from very limited practices, one car at a time if need be, all the way to having fans in the grandstands for a regular show at some point.
They've advanced a little bit in that game plan, and Saturday night they are doing Club Races. Not regular races. Not just racing in front of an empty grandstand. Club Races. This is important, because the Madera County officials don't want drivers traveling from other race tracks unless they've been quarantined for 14 days before coming to Madera. That's the county officials' idea, not Kenny's. So when they say Club Racing, they're basically talking about regulars at Madera Speedway. This is also a way for county officials to know that Kenny's not just going to try to stack the pit area with race cars from all over California to make up for the fact that he doesn't have fans in the stands. That's an important point.
Dennis Gage at Marysville has done something similar. He's basically opened up for his local racers. Granted, the Sprint Car division has seen visitation from other tracks, but the track itself isn't lobbying for as many different racers as they can get. Basically, Dennis is trying to show that he can handle a regular type race that the track would normally run and still keep things within covid-19 guidelines. He's able to do this because he's paying half-purse and he's had streaming services to help generate revenue. Otherwise, Marysville may have sat dormant like its sister track, Silver Dollar Speedway.
Silver Dollar Speedway put the news out on Monday that they won't be opening in June or early July. Furthermore, the fireworks display is off. It's interesting how Butte County is being as restricted as they are, and I'm a bit surprised. Santa Maria Speedway can't even open for as much as a limited practice. Merced Speedway just chimed in that they are seeking approval from county health officials for a potential opener on June 20th. Right now, General Manager Doug Lockwood just wants to have racing of any kind if he can, but much like they're saying up in Roseburg, Oregon, Doug isn't talking about point racing or any of that. Just having a race, which would probably be in front of an empty grandstand at first. You talk about a grandstand that can use social distancing and still have quite a few fans watching, Merced Speedway is the place for that.
Oregon is headed for Phase 2, and one of the things this includes is outdoor gatherings of 100 or less people. This is an interesting situation here. You can't really have an open practice at 100 people. You're likely to have over 100 people, and you need that to make opening the gates for a practice worthwhile. I'm not sure what the numbers are for such a thing. In the past Southern Oregon Speedway has had a practice that charged $10 to get in. So, if you have 100 people, you made $1,000. However, you're having to pay insurance costs and EMT and whatever else to attempt to practice. You at least need to be able to get as many people as you can in the pits, or people will be paying more to get in.
The other thing about it is, if you can get as many people in the pits as you can, why run a practice? Why not run a race? The easy answer to that is you don't have fans in the stands, which is a huge chunk of the purse money you pay. Even if you've got all the cars and crews back there, that's not going to be enough to pay the normal purse once you take out all the costs associated with running this event. Streaming services are an option, if you can get them. However, the more tracks that are open on any given Saturday night, the lower the return will be on the streaming services. Best chance you have at a race is if the racers are willing to take a pay cut at 50% purse or whatever is decided.
I'm curious about the news that Drake Nelson was considering running a race with the 100 person maximum allowed in the pits at Coos Bay Speedway. This came out on the Pacific Sport Modified Series Facebook page on Monday. How exactly can you pull that off? Drake was reportedly thinking about IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and the local Junior Stinger division. I'll ignore the idea that he's got a bunch of anxious Hornet and Late Model racers that would probably like to run and are his devoted locals. Whatever.
Obviously, if you're going to put a 100 person limit on who can be in the pits, this means car count is going to be limited. Let's assume that you can get all 100 people. In other words, you're not counting any officials you need to run the show. Let's assume you are allowing two people per car. The driver and crew member. Now, you have 50 potential cars. Some teams won't like that as there may be another essential crew member that they wouldn't be allowed to bring. Do you allow three people per car? That gets you to 33 cars. The number of potential participants just got lower.
At 33 cars, if you're trying to run three divisions, that's 11 cars per division. That's enough for you to run two heat races, a Trophy Dash and a Main Event. What would be the pay? It sounded to me like they were looking to see if they could get sponsorship for the purse money. Nelson was going to need whatever gate admission he got to justify running the race. Totally understandable. I don't like the limitations on cars. Somebody's feelings will get hurt because they can't reserve a spot, but if the track is going to run, they have to limit how many people can be there.
Let's say everybody was okay with two people per car. That gives you 50 cars. You are still going to be paying whatever the driver entry fee is and the crew member entry. Multiplying that by 50 cars, that's what gets taken in from the pit gate. You subtract the insurance, EMT and whatever other fees you might have. It still doesn't really make sense financially to attempt a race under these circumstances. At 50 cars, if you divide that by three divisions, you're looking at 16 cars per division. If a division underperforms, like bringing 12 cars, this could free up four spots to the other classes. This is why you do pre-race registration. You make sure all 100 slots are filled and it's easier for you to handle cashless transactions, if that's a requirement.
It still doesn't make a lot of financial sense to me, but there's also the idea that I was pitching a few weeks ago. Let's say you have 100 people that you can get for any of these Oregon tracks to open. I look at how Kevin Barba down in Yreka had three-hour time slots and ran three practices in one day a couple of weeks ago. Actually, he had three days set aside with three practices each. The bigger question is will the state health officials let you do it? If you already had one gathering of 100 people, even if they all clear out for the next gathering, would that be considered sanitary enough to hold a second event?
I feel ridiculous even having this discussion right now. We've gotten to the point where we're trying to take a number like 100 people and make it work. But let's just say you open your gates at 10 in the morning. You will be racing the first shift at noon. You're going to keep this program rolling, so you want the final checkered flag to be dropped by no later than 2:00 so the pits can be cleared by 3. Then, you're opening up the gates at 4 to do it again. You're only going to probably get in two racing sessions that way. Several tracks are rotating a half a dozen or more divisions, so obviously this is the way to get at least some racing in for most of the classes, even if there is a limit.
If you have 100 people allowed into your pits, that means 50 cars. You might still have to put a cap on the car count you get. Let's say you have a strong IMCA Sport Modified division that is capable of delivering more than 25 cars. You might cap them at 25 cars. Putting a cap on the class means it's not going to be a sanctioned event, but it is an opportunity for drivers in the class to go racing if they reserve their spots. Let's say you support the show with 25 Dwarf Cars. This would easily fill 100 slots for one of your segments.
You might try to get three divisions in a segment. Let's say you chose Mini Stocks, Sprint Cars and Late Models. I know, we forgot the IMCA Modifieds. This is the problem. At three divisions, you now have 16 cars per class with 2 remaining. I don't think you'll have a problem filling 100 slots in the pits for people and getting 50 total cars. If you did that and had officials willing to work the whole day, five divisions could run a racing program of some sort in front of empty grandstands. Whether you had streaming services, I don't know. But you could still run heat races, Trophy Dashes and Main Events.
What this does is basically makes it so that your insurance policy would probably cover the full program. It might cost more for you if you split it into two days. In other words, one group gets to run with these restrictions on Saturday and the other group runs on Sunday. That becomes more costlier, so you do it all in one day instead. Of course, your EMT charges by the hour, meaning it's a longer day for them. Also, your crew are doing it a bit longer. So, would that pencil in a way that you could pay any sort of purse at all? Could you do half-purse? I don't know.
The biggest reason I've had this discussion on this column here is because there are Oregon tracks that may be looking at this very way to do some sort of racing. Obviously, Coos Bay Speedway has put the feelers out to the PSM group. What I heard was being discussed prior to the Memorial Day Weekend event being scrapped was a 16 car limit per class. It sounded like Coos Bay was ready to run most of their regular classes. Some of them didn't have 16 cars, so if they only delivered a half dozen, the other 10 slots would be free for another class. There was just a maximum total car and person allowance.
If you recall, when this stuff was being debated on social media, Heather Boyce at Cottage Grove Speedway indicated that she was watching what Coos Bay was doing. What she said was that she might have restricted races in front of no grandstands as well with a certain amount of cars being allowed. In her case, she wasn't just going to let it be first come first serve. She was going to open it up to people who had been supportive of Cottage Grove Speedway in recent years first. However, it highlighted that even Heather was looking at doing something with the restrictions.
It has to be worth the effort to do this. Racers in the higher-end divisions start questioning whether it's worth it when the purse gets cut. A promoter starts questioning whether it's worth it to do it when they are not able to sell tickets to fans. There is quite a bit of work that goes into it. Of course, some of the work wouldn't necessarily need to be done if you don't have fans. You wouldn't have concession stands going, for instance. You wouldn't have the employees on that side of the fence to pay. You wouldn't have an announcer unless you had a pay-per-view stream for people to buy. You would basically just need a score keeper at that point.
My first instinct is to throw this whole idea out the window and say it's ridiculous. If this is how far we have to go to make something happen, it's not worth it. It's more work and more headaches. On the other hand, I feel the pain of the racers. I know they want to race. If what we were facing in regards to this virus was really as dire as they have claimed it to be, I wouldn't even want to have a discussion about this. However, the numbers don't really lie. Now, we've got rioting and looting thrown in on top of this whole mess. When will the madness end?
Regardless, Oregon appears to be headed for Phase 2 by this weekend in most of the counties. The others will probably join within the next week. As that happens and the case numbers are reasonable in their eyes, more things will open. I still look at the mass gathering rule being put in by the governor, but I have a feeling that this could actually disappear. We could still be talking about having racing in Oregon by the end of June and possibly getting fans in the stands in some instances in July. By August, we could be back in business, at least at the tracks that are going for it. Seasons will probably thrown out the window, meaning no champions in most cases, but fans could gather at the race track to watch some racing.
I can't help but come to another conclusion here. If we get to the point where a mass gathering of 100 people can happen and the case numbers don't spike upward, the number of people allowed should be increased or not restricted at all. That's a discussion that will begin to happen before June ends. If you allow a track to have 200 people in the pits, somebody's going to go racing. 200 people is enough to do something, even though you still don't have the grandstands. As that works out, I think you get to the point where you can have grandstands in July sometime. So, regardless of the outcome of this State Supreme Court ruling that is supposed to happen at any time in Oregon, it's going to happen.
Drake Nelson has shown that he is busy trying to figure out which way will work best for him to do something, and I think he'll figure out the combination before too long. Could it be this race idea that he has in mind for potentially June 17th? He's not calling his place a bar and grill. He's not trying to put people in the grandstands. He's simply talking about what he can do with 100 people in the pits. If he comes up with something that works for him, there will be racing at Coos Bay Speedway. If he pulls this off, Heather Boyce will try to do something similar at Cottage Grove Speedway. Not a doubt in my mind about that.
I still come back to the idea that you could open the grandstands at a track in some sort of capacity, even if you're doing social distancing there. I know they're saying gathering in one location, but hear me out. The pits are a separate area from the grandstands. I know some tracks have the crossover gate where you can go back and forth, but you simply shut that. You furthermore don't allow in and out privileges from the pits or the grandstands. If you leave, you're going home. There is no leaving from the pit area to go to the grandstands or vice versa. Therefore, the people in the pits aren't coming into contact with the people in the stands. Makes sense, right?
If you allow 100 people to gather in the pits, you should also be able to allow 100 people to gather in the grandstands. Granted, that's not much, but it's still something. Better than nothing at all. You can maximize your adult ticket sales by saying only adults are allowed to spectate, thereby meaning that you'll have 100 adult tickets sold rather than some of them being kids tickets. It's a start, right? If you're allowed to have 200 people in the pits, you should therefore be allowed to have 200 people in the stands. No crossover gate privileges so that the people on one side of the fence are not interacting with people on the other. I know it makes too much sense, and state officials never even began to draft any sort of guidance for businesses such as race tracks. Otherwise, I think the situation would look a little bit different.
Another note crossed my desk today regarding the California Speedweek for the Micro Sprints. This four-day series that would have taken place at the end of June has been canceled. Basically, although Lemoore Raceway is set to open on the 13th and Dixon Speedway has been having races without fans, Stockton Delta Speedway and Plaza Park Raceway have not opened yet. I haven't even heard any indication on when they are going to open either one of those venues, even to no spectators. It's obvious that they wouldn't be in a position to hold this series at the end of June. I don't know if they considered moving this back a couple of months or not. I'm not sure that could have worked, and it was decided to go ahead and cancel it this year and try again next year. This was the biggest Micro Sprint series in the state of California, and I hate seeing this one get cancelled.
I stand by the statement I made recently regarding the idea of an IMCA Modified/Sport Modified Speedweek in California. Some of the tracks that are running won't have championship point races, and we know the season in 2020 has been screwed up pretty badly. However, a week-long series championship is still something that could be done. Heck, if more than seven tracks wanted a piece of this action, you could go eight days, 10 days, whatever. I don't think going to an event for this series during the week would be an issue. Fans have been jonesing for it, so if the grandstands are open, they will go. Racers will go.
When I say racers, I think it's fair to say you could have as many as 50 drivers in each division for a Speedweek Series, meaning you only need these two divisions. Anything else would be too much. You can't set up a series like this in June. Tracks still aren't open yet. July is problematic as some tracks might not be open with grandstands. August may be iffy as well. However, I think September would be the perfect time for this. Maybe you kick things off on Labor Day Weekend, or you start at the end of August right into Labor Day Weekend. I know schools will be back in session in September, but this timeframe could work. You should be able to have fans by then.
You can take your pick of IMCA Modified venues, and there are some good ones. Antioch Speedway is already holding races. Petaluma Speedway should be up and running by then as should Merced Speedway. Ocean Speedway could be running. You could go to Marysville Raceway. I'm expecting that Bakersfield Speedway could be open for business by then. Maybe Keller Auto Speedway as well. I mean, this series would be good, and it would put a positive spin on the 2020 season. Promoters working together for the betterment of the sport under very difficult circumstances.
Will it happen? If I'm honest, I'm doubtful. You can't get three promoters to go outside and look at the sky and agree on what color it is these days. If someone makes a concession to another one, they feel like they're being weaker somehow. So, I'm doubtful that this type of thing would be put together. Even the guy who put together the Wild West Speedweek Series managed to screw things up prior to the whole covid-19 outbreak. Now, it looks like that one has been scrapped at least for the year. California has been begging for something given the growth of both the IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds. I'm telling you, this would be a winner. People who couldn't make it there would gladly order pay-per-view to watch it at home. The best of the best in both classes would be competing, and we'd have two truly deserving champions by the end of the series.
What we have to understand is they're not making this easy. Since there is no blueprint for how to open up a race track in these conditions, at least as far as the state is concerned, you simply have to engage in the game of mother-may-I. I am wrapping up the Tuesday news with word that Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford has petitioned to be able to do something. Bear in mind, we are in June now. We are progressing along in the phase system, but they are only able to dip their toe in the water. While Santa Maria Speedway can't even get a car on the track according to their county officials, it looks like Kings County will allow four cars into the pits at Hanford. Oh goody. This is where we're at.
I understand that we are in a process, and having a limited practice at a track is a victory. It's a small victory, but it's a victory. In a week or two, maybe they can have a bigger practice. At this rate, maybe they can have a race in front of an empty grandstand in July. I know, I know. This whole deal changes daily, so there could be even better news in the next day or two. That's how it seems to work. It's just baffling to me how this deal is going. In Antioch, they got approval for a race before they hastily scheduled a practice for the week before.
Antioch Speedway is at a fairgrounds, and they got approval for a race. It wasn't just some race with the locals, they put 150 cars in the pits and I can only imagine how many people. The records are there, but it had to be three times or four times the car count. Could have been a little bit more. I don't know. When they got approval for the race, they threw in a practice the week before that race and had 100 cars. No fans, but you can hardly call this a dipping of the toe in the water. On the pit side of the gate, they drove in headfirst. That's the Antioch Fairgrounds. In Hanford, four cars may be allowed to practice in June, contact the track to find out. Okay then. That's the news from Keller Auto Speedway. As I say, check their Facebook page for more details on that.
This final little ditty on Tuesday has to do with River City Speedway in St Helens, Oregon. I mentioned that they were moving towards at least having a practice, but there was an article in the newspaper in the area about doing some sort of racing in Phase 2. Okay, they know they can't have a crowd. Phase 2 says only 100 people. They admit there's 15 officials, so that's 85 more people in the pits. Obviously, they're hoping to petition county officials to give them a few more people in the pits. How many, I don't know. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. You never know if you don't ask. I tend to be doubtful, but these are crazy times. I think the discussion about what to do with 100 people in the pits comes into play. I start with, "Okay, so you said 100 people? Does the staff count?" I don't know.
You have to understand that to get that approval, they have to do the whole song and dance with the health officials. Will there be a mask requirement? How do we implement the social distancing guidelines? Can we use paper money or digital transactions only? It sounds like it will be digital transactions there. Are we required to take temperatures at the gate? What are the guidelines for opening the bathrooms? Can we open the pit concessions and what are the guidelines? This is ridiculous. It's damn ridiculous. But, this is what every track will go through to try to open.
This Is the new normal. Don't you just love Orwellian speak? How do you like the new normal? What happens when they tweak that to make you jump through more hoops? Are you ready to do that too? This is where we're at. If I seem a little bit frustrated, I am. This is America, or I thought it was. I don't know what it's becoming, but you need to look around the world right now. They are rioting in the streets. We've been on lockdown over a virus that had a very low fatality rate. By the way, if you think the riots are just about a black man being pretty much murdered by a law enforcement officer, think again. The people were initially protesting or exercising their first amendment rights. I know the phrase black lives matter elicits different responses, and I'm not going to get into any of that. This protest has gone beyond that, and there are other factors and factions at play here. It's gone beyond what the protest started out to be.
Standing up for our right to go to a race track may be the least of our issues here. By all means, we should stand up for our right to race. However, we should also stand up for our way of life. If we don't, it's going to change drastically. Remember those dystopian movies we were watching in the 1980s and early 1990s with people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone? Yeah, it was cool to watch the good guys kicking ass, but look at the world they were living in in those movies. Was that some sort of predictive programming at play? I don't know. I'm asking. I have my theories. 1984 should resonate with people. Brave New World should resonate with people. Look around you. That's all I'm going to say. Fight for your right to race, sure. But there are bigger issues at play here
One final thought for the evening. This highlights the craziness that we're going through as Contra Costa County enters the next phase. Guess what businesses, you can open up more. Oh wait, we've been having rioting and looting in the area. You'll have to deal with a curfew. You'd better be home at 8 pm like good citizens or you're breaking the law. isn't that nice. The county officials voted unanimously to have the curfew all the way through June 8th. That will cover the weekend. How does this affect Antioch Speedway, which was going to get started racing at 6 pm? An official statement hasn't been made by the track as I write this, although one of the people in the know suggested that they would just start earlier if they had to.
This can be done. Since curfew is lifted at 5 in the morning and doesn't come back until 8 in the evening, you have a 13 hour window to do your thing. Basically, you're gathering everybody at the track earlier in the morning and having the final checkered flag falling by 4 in the afternoon or so. This is what would probably happen, because at this point I think it would take a tornado ripping through the fairgrounds before Chad Chadwick would cancel anything.
I have to laugh at this whole thing, and it's not funny. Not in the damn least. Some of us are sitting here struggling financially after what they've done with this virus. I say what they've done, because we've all seen the numbers. I've seen no proof that it was as big a threat as the media made it out to be. I'm by no means trivializing the deaths that really happened due to the virus. I say really happened, not those that were added to the numbers to inflate them. I don't like anybody dying of anything, and I think you'd have to be a monster to say you like seeing people die. That's not the point. The point is everything got shut down, and now we're dealing with the fall out in so many ways . We'll be feeling it in the months ahead. That's not even including the next thing they throw at us.
You're not even able to feel the least bit good about anyting. Fine, we are enduring this. Things are starting to get back to normal, slowly. Okay, we can't race in front of fans, but we can race. Okay, this track can't open to full capacity, but they can open a little bit. Fine. Then, Wham-O! We have riots on the streets. We have businesses that are already feeling the pinch getting broken into, looted and vandalized.
Across the country, places are getting burned down. Guess what, you're free to go back in your home. You're under curfew. Oh goody. I'm laughing because at this point I'm tempted to cry. Forgive me if opening the race track isn't as high on my list right now when I look at the freedoms that are in jeopardy. But I do care about the track. Don't worry, unless they tell Chad he can't open the track, he will have a race this weekend, and you can watch it on Dirt Oval TV from the safety of your own home so you don't get hurt.
It's Wednesday morning in the game of, "Oh great, what's next?" I was reading the Yreka Outlaw Kart Facebook page, and what they are trying to do is work within the 100 person guidelines for a June 12th race. It's easier for them to do that as they generally average between 20 and 30 Karts. They have 23 Karts signed up and 64 total people, meaning they have 36 slots left to fill. I think the Kart count could get into the 30s, and it will still just be 100 people using social distance guidelines and all of that stuff. With an Outlaw Kart program, you have a better opportunity to work within 100 person guidelines. I've been saying this for a while, but the numbers have been declining in recent years at these little tracks.
I'm still watching an evolving situation in Yreka. At first I look at what they're doing at the Kart track and say, "Okay, so they're doing it with 100 people." That doesn't necessarily mean that Siskiyou Golden Speedway will have a race on the 13th. However, I mentioned that this is an evolving situation. Between now and early next week, Kevin Barba may get the kind of news he needs. He may be told he can have a race there if he chooses as long as he enforces social distancing guidelines. That does not mean he can have fans, of course. I still think that he would lean towards having a race at that point, rather than a full practice. However, he's going to need the understanding and support of the racers, such as if there is a 50% purse or whatever is doable to make any kind of race happen at all.
I've spoken a bit about race tracks opening up their own streaming services in house, rather than bringing the established companies to town. One of the reasons for this is it enables you to get a bigger share of the revenue generated, rather than having to split it with the streaming service. After you've invested in the infrastructure, you can start working towards building it up and making it profitable. You don't just snap your fingers and make it happen that way. These things take time. Obviously, this pandemic is the perfect time to try to do something in-house, and Steve Beitler has Skagit Speedway TV. They hope to have some graphics with lineups and also the announcer being piped into the broadcast.
As I've said, without repeating myself too much, we're going to have to look at different ways to market the sport going forward. Though I like the written word and advocate continuing that, we need to do more visual and audio stuff. Whether this starts out with pay-per-view broadcasts in house or you start with highlight clips, interviews and that sort of thing, it is a marketing tool. Promoters might be surprised at how reasonably affordable an investment this can be. It's really not as difficult as you might think. Streaming services are convenient because they are established. But tracks can quickly set all of that up themselves.
All it takes is good video equipment to give the fans high quality. Having a PA system that enables you to plug the video equipment in with your announcer, and suddenly you've got a broadcast. If you've got a good announcer and somebody who knows how to work the camera, you're on your way. I remember Fred at RevPro was telling me back in 2015 that he could go live already at that point. He's one of the people that works with Speedshift these days, and he still sells high-quality DVDs of each night's races. You've got a guy there who's been doing it for a long time, and he is one of the best out there.
It's not that much of an expense when you think about it. You basically have to have a good enough internet service to handle things. There is your investment. That and good filming equipment and hiring a guy who will work the camera. The announcer is already being paid by the track. Whether you build the streaming service through your website or use one of the other platforms out there like YouTube, Vimeo or what have you, you can go live. What's interesting about Beitler is he's putting this thing out there at Skagit Speedway TV. He's got a captive audience, which means he should do good numbers right out the gate. Hopefully, he'll have the bandwidth to be able to keep the service up. These things do have speed bumps, so his Thursday Night Thunder program could be interesting this week. I do wish him luck.
I wasn't looking forward to the news that Petaluma Speedway put out just now, but I'm not surprised. I figured there was a 50/50 chance that the race track would hold the race on Saturday, and Rick Faeth said that by June 3rd he would issue a final statement. Unfortunately, county officials aren't being very cooperative with the fairgrounds at this time. He had to cancel the race on Saturday and is aiming for the Dwarf Car Nationals two-day event next week. However, I would still keep the odds at 50/50 at best. If one of their concerns is too many people gathering at the location and people coming from out of town that might be coming from places with higher covid-19 cases, they may not like the sound of a Dwarf Car Nationals event happening there. We will see.
Rick also took some heat from a Facebook commenter when he made his announcement. He put it up there tentatively that he's hoping to get the Dwarf Car Nationals, and it just so happens that the PitStopUSA.com Wingless Spec Sprint class is in support of the Dwarf Cars at the Saturday June 13th show. Rick didn't scrap his schedule. This is the same schedule he booked when he released it earlier this year in January. He got criticized by somebody from the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series for daring to book on top of a race they are scheduling for June 13th. Rather than do the adult thing and discuss this privately, they felt the need to put it out there for all to read.
Here's the thing. Rick has probably been at his wit's end trying to communicate with county officials to get any sort of approval. I know that if the conversations on the phone or in person go long enough, it's mentally draining. Plus, he's maintaining the track so it's ready at a moment's notice. What he might not be doing is looking on the website to see who's doing what. He has a schedule he intends to run, he's just had to cancel several races due to the virus.
Furthermore, Antioch Speedway does not have anything listed on their schedule for June 13th at this moment. They are taking it one week at a time. Therefore, Petaluma Speedway was the first track that booked Spec Sprints. Just saying. Now, if you come to the man reasonably, I'm sure you can come to sort of agreement. Don't villainize a man who is fighting for his race track and has other things hanging over his head in the future there as well. He's working his ass off.
A little further up north from Petaluma, Furia Motorsports is happy to report that they are on schedule for Saturday's race at Ukiah Speedway. At this time, I've seen no mention of streaming services, but they will be running their Limited Modifieds, Bombers, Jammers and I-4 Modifieds. It's basically a regular type of event without fans. They are sticking to the strict covid-19 guidelines, and I have no doubt that they will be enforcing them better than some other places. Once Ukiah Speedway drops a green flag on a race on Saturday night, they become the second fairgrounds race track in the state of California to have a race. Progress is slow, but this is progress.
Continuing the Wednesday news, it's been clarified that the curfew in Contra Costa country is 8 pm. People were questioning how this might affect Antioch Speedway for this Saturday's race, but management has assured everybody that it will go on as scheduled at the times listed. Pit gates are opening at noon and the first race should shove off around 6 pm. When you think about it, there shouldn't be that much of an issue as the people going to the race track certainly won't be walking the streets. They will be driving around in vehicles towing race cars. It's a simple matter of going home from there, which also shouldn't be an issue.
Really, the only safety concern that a person might have is if they happen to be driving their vehicle down a road where there are a bunch of protesters blocking their way. That could turn into a whole scary situation, but I'd say it's doubtful to be the case. In other words, the show is going on as scheduled, and I would say they're going to have a strong turnout in the 70 to 80 car range.
To highlight the craziness going on here with one track opening and another one being told they can't, Scott Schweitzer got the green light to have a practice. We hadn't heard much of a hint that anything was in progress at Bakersfield Speedway, but this was just announced and it pertains to an open practice on Saturday. The track will be engaging in certain covid-19 guidelines, as you might expect. The best place to find out all of the details would be the Bakersfield Speedway Facebook page.
We've spoken a bit about the controversy on the Madera Raceway Facebook page when Kenny Shepherd basically shined a light on both Antioch Speedway and Stockton 99 Speedway in his response to one of the comments. I want to clarify again that I didn't think it was cool of Kenny to mention any track at all. You may have noticed that somebody who races at Stockton said something, but was that Tony Noceti saying it? In other words, unless you're being attacked by the promoter themselves, it's best to take the high road. Speak for your race track and the safety issues in place that made it possible for you to have the Club Race you're going to have this Saturday. I don't think that's asking too much.
There will be some speculation as to whether a call went out from Shepherd or any of his people to the health officials in Stockton in light of the news that the Southwest Tour race was canceled this Saturday. This was just announced today. Am I saying that this happened? Nope. However, everything's out there on Facebook that was said, and some people might draw their own conclusions. Whatever you might think, it also reinforces what Shepherd said regarding who might be doing things the proper way and who might not. It's a mess.
I highlight what the mayor of Los Angeles said when the harsh restrictions were put in place down there. The guy got on TV and said snitches get rewards. He encouraged people to snitch, and that's sort of the society that were devolving into now. It doesn't necessarily mean that somebody was observing what was going on in Stockton and called the health authorities. That may not be the case at all. It may be that the health authorities simply wanted to review what was going on and decide if another event should happen. Therefore, they didn't want an event at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday, but there still could be something on the 13th. I really don't know.
It is what it is. You're going to have some racers and promoters sitting in frustration as they watch what's going on in other places and sit helplessly waiting to do something at their own place. Whether they would want to lash out at the people who are doing something or not, I don't know.
Guidelines were never put in place across the board, and that should have happened. It should happen now. By now, the state of California understands that tracks are trying to open. They also understand that there could be health concerns. Somebody at the state level, perhaps the State Fair Board themselves, should be drafting a plan that can be implemented at every fairgrounds race track. That's just my two cents.
Coos Bay Speedway may run a race on the oval track as we enter the halfway point of June. Nothing has been said on the track's Facebook page as of Wednesday evening, and I really don't know that we'll see anything there before the weekend. They're doing something with the mud drags, and that's going to be the priority. That particular show seems to be adhering to the 100 person guidelines as laid out in Phase 2. We enter Phase 2 this weekend, so the timing is perfect. Drake Nelson reportedly reached out to members of the IMCA Modified and Sport Modified community for their input on a race, which was originally thought to be June 10th. That would be a Wednesday.
The additional information I've received appears to have come from Drake himself. This is from an anonymous source who is friends with Drake on social media. I can't gain access to his posts to know for sure, but I have no doubt this is authentic. June 17th would feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Jr Stingers. There's another race in there. I was wondering how he could forget all his main divisions and just come out with a show featuring two divisions that are not on his regular roster. Obviously, one of the reasons he reached out to these other two divisions is because they are capable of delivering him cars if there's organization behind the groups themselves. The PSM is known to throw their weight behind things they believe in.
On June 20th, they intend to run a program that will include Late Models, Limited Sprints, Street Stocks and a couple of the other classes. When I read this, it doesn't sound like he's working within the 100 person guideline. That may not be the case on the 17th either, so how exactly will he pull this off if it's not allowed in Phase 2? If the people at River City Speedway in St Helens are petitioning for a little leeway to allow a few more people in the pits, this could be what Drake is doing. This may also be why he's only talking on his own personal page right now. It would make sense that you don't make an announcement on the race track page until you know for sure.
I have said for a while that I believe that Drake will be the first promoter in Oregon to run a race on his oval track, and I'm sticking to that. He's on a private property, so he doesn't have to deal with anything from the county that might own the location the race track is on. However, he may have learned a lesson about getting too cute the way he did back in May. The state would see right through that. He may be looking at this the right way. You're probably not going to get fans in the grandstands on your first attempt. However, if you can get enough people in the pits, it might be worth the attempt. I eagerly await what is announced on the Coos Bay Speedway Facebook page.
It's Thursday morning as I'm adding more to this column. Last night I actually did the audio show, which went longer than I'd like with all the updates and observations, and yet there's more. Hopefully, I'm not going to hear something really huge and be recording the show again, although I'll try to be briefer if that happens. This is the interesting thing about doing the Viewpoint the way I am. It's kind of easier to write when you break it down day by day and don't take all the information overall and to write it all at once. I'd be spending an entire day on the column. This way is easier for me, and I think it gives a better view of the process.
Lakeport Speedway hasn't said too much that I've seen, But news just came across my desk. They've finally been given approval to hold some races in front of empty grandstands. On June 13th and June 20th, they should be doing some racing. I'm unclear on the divisions that will be included, although they run Limited Modifieds, Bombers, Jammers and that sort of thing as does Ukiah Speedway. They are talking about a practice this Saturday as well. I believe the Facebook page is NCRA Lakeport Speedway.
In the best example of good news/bad news, the USAC Western Midgets have canceled racing all the way through July 11th. There was some Petaluma and Placerville and Ventura thrown in there among other tracks, but that's gone. We are still waiting on word from Ventura of what's going on there. We know Petaluma lost this week, but we don't know what the latest is on Placerville Speedway opening again for anything. Obviously, this decision was made based on the association's information and not the track's. The tracks could always be running on the nights when this division was scheduled with a different division added in. Day by day, the news is changing.
On the audio show, I speculated on when we might be seeing 12 tracks in California running on a Saturday night. I speculated that I don't see that happening in June, but maybe July. It's the same sort of thing about when they will allow fans in the grandstands. One county might be different than another. I'm going to stick to the prediction that it will be in late June at the earliest or we'll see it in July. Speculation on when we'll see a race in Oregon? I'm bumping that up to 60/40 or 70/30 that we will have a race in June with no grandstands and possibly some limitation in how many cars are allowed in the pits. I'm looking at you Coos Bay.
Let this be the final note I put in this column on a Thursday afternoon. I'm sure there will be more, but this is relevant to the weekend at Antioch Speedway. I don't think Saturday's race was ever in doubt. If need be, times would have been changed, but there hadn't even been a hint that anything was going to be canceled. I can report now that the 8 pm curfew the Contra Costa County Supervisors had implemented through June 8th has been ended as of now. That's good news that they've got the violence under control in the area and also good news that people can go to the track without having to worry. It should be an enjoyable show to watch on Dirt Oval TV. Race on Antioch!
I'm struggling here. I will admit that. I'm at the end of my rope with the racing media effort. We're all having our struggles these days, so I know I'm not unique. I also know that I'm putting in time and getting nothing out of it in return. Therefore, I make no promises that the commitment I made coming into this season that I would cover things every week will continue. It's going to be a week-by-week decision. I'm looking around the world and I see what's going on. Suddenly, worrying about whether a track is going to open or not is the least of my worries. Whether my freedom is going to exist matters much more to me. If I were getting a return on the energy I put forth, I might care a little bit more and worry about the weekly racing blog effort more.
I want racing to resume. Even if I'm not involved, I want people to enjoy a sport that I enjoyed for many years. I don't like the idea of having to wear a mask at the track. Are you serious? Think of the different fumes that we breathe on race day, and we're not wearing masks for that. Socially distancing? If you read the damn guidelines, which I know aren't being enforced seriously at some places, you're not even supposed to go into other people's pits and talk. Really? Are you freaking serious? Cashless transactions only? Did we lose a war? It almost seems like we have, although was a shot fired in this case? What sort of racing are we looking at in the future with all of this stuff being put into place, and what other things are we going to have to do to keep racing going? Come on people. Wake up.
We haven't even gotten to the point where fans will be at the race track yet. Remember fans? We're advertising this streaming service or that to watch the races as if this is okay. I mean, I get it. We are compromising to make it work, but at what point do we have fans out there? Why are fans who want to be there not being allowed to risk it, but racers and crew members are? Who makes these rules and do they make sense to you? That's where we're at. I'm trying to tell you that this is not normal, or at least it shouldn't be. And simply putting the word new in front of normal doesn't suddenly make it acceptable. If there were people dying in the streets over the virus, I would understand. In fact, I don't think I'd even be talking about racing at that point. What would be the damn point?
I worried when I saw the World of Outlaws draft their proposal for opening up race tracks, and Mike was in agreement on this. He was pointing out things to me. This is what we're doing to open the gates. Because they had a lawyer and insurance guy on their side, it made it easier to sell to the tracks. Use these proposals to get your gates open. Go on your own, and you end up like Madera with a 14 day quarantine if a racer dares to go somewhere else. But are these guidelines that much better?
Taking cash out of the equation? Are you not seeing what's going on here? The loss of cash is the loss of financial freedom. That's obvious. If you don't understand that, I'm not going to explain it to you. Somebody on the other end of a computer could end you're financial situation at the stroke of a key. Worse yet, the powers-that-be could designate you a bad citizen and take that away from you. I know, I'm talking scary stuff here, or conspiracy stuff, depending on your view. Maybe you think I'm crazy to say this. I don't know, and I really don't care.
By all means, we should fight for the things we believe in. For some of us, racing is a part of our lifestyle, and I get that. However, although I want to continue to document this craziness going on, I may withdraw from this whole thing a little bit earlier given the fact that I'm dealing with my own financial struggles right now. Putting hours into this every week is becoming less important to me.
I've watched this virus situation pretty much destroy the momentum that we've worked so hard to establish up in Medford, and the path to opening the gates at that race track is unclear. At what point can that be done with a crowd in the grandstands for a race night? Am I witnessing the end of my involvement in this track. What am I going to do next?
I get not having any support for my media effort. I started doing this whole thing voluntarily because I wanted to make a difference. I stand by my work over the last five years and know that I have made a difference. I have nothing that necessarily needs to be proven at this point. If I continue the weekly effort for a while longer, it's because I was motivated to do it for some reason, but I am putting it out here now that I may stop at any time. It's not something I'm going to stress myself out over anymore.
I recognize now that when it comes to this sport, it's time for a new way of thinking about things. Somebody else may have better ideas than me. I can still pop in from time to time with observations. So it's one day at a time for me on this effort from here on out, and we'll see what happens. If somebody makes me the right offer, I'm listening. I'll leave it at that.
On that note, all in this column. Until next time...