(WSYR-TV) — After much confusion from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, racetrack owners in Central New York now have a potential date they can resume racing with fans in the stands. Some tracks are even getting ready this weekend with practice sessions for drivers.
“I understand the safety concerns, I understand all of that, but let’s go. We gotta go,” Cory Reed, Brewerton and Fulton Speedway general manager, said.
As Central New York enters Phase Four of the COVID-19 restart plan, many businesses who were led to believe that they could reopen, are still left with their doors closed, including speedways across the region.
“We really are just disappointed because Phase Four was really our rollout, according to all of [Gov. Cuomo’s] instructions, and ultimately he rescinded and went against what he said he was going to do,” Reed said.
Oswego Speedway even had an event planned and ready to go with fans for 4th of July weekend.
“Right now, he had an executive order in place, the governor’s office, that said there could be no racing with fans until at least July 2nd,” Camden Proud, Oswego Speedway Public Relations Director, said. “So, we went through our local officials, submitted a plan, that eventually went to the state, and we heard back just a couple of days ago that we won’t be able to open with fans, and that the order has been extended until July 21st.”
Although official racing with fans can’t take place until July 21, Brewerton, Fulton and Oswego Speedways are hosting practice sessions for any driver who wants to hit the track and work on their vehicle.
Proud said, “Yeah, we’re excited to have the cars back on the track this weekend. It really has been a long time coming, and these few months have felt like a few years. We really wish we were going racing and could welcome our fans back here as well, but it will be nice to get some cars on the track, and kind of hear the roar again.”
Fulton Speedway had their test and tune event on Thursday and Brewerton Speedway is hosting their practice event on Friday.
“Everybody, whether it be fans, or whether it be racers especially, has really been anxious for this day here,” Reed said.
Although they can’t race their normal program, many tracks are just hoping they can get the green flag in time for their bigger events.
“Obviously our end of the year events are really important to us,” Reed said. “Our Hurricane 100, which is our closure here, and our Outlaw 200 weekend in Fulton are two of our most important events. So, really a major goal for us is to be able to operate them as normal if possible, finish the regular season.”
In Oswego, their already short season is under even more pressure with Super Dirt Week looming.
“We could get away with maybe a week or two at the most, but it takes them almost a full month to get the dirt down, and prepped and ready for Super Dirt Week, which is the second week in October,” Proud said. “So, unless we did a mid-week special or something like that, the possibility of adding more races is pretty bleak.”
Many speedways already have their restart plans in place.
“We have to social distance if we want to open, six feet apart,” Proud said. “We will probably have labeled signs on all the seating, we might open our second section of grandstand to keep people separated. It could be every other row, every other section, masks will be mandatory, things like that, all of the CDC guidelines.”
Now they’re just waiting for the green light from the governor.
“We gotta get the racing going, we gotta get stuff happening, and it’s very frustrating that it hasn’t,” Reed said. “I understand the safety concerns, I understand all of that, but let’s go. We gotta go, we gotta make some money, we gotta get the state thriving, we gotta get things happening. Whether it be racing, whether it be the malls, whatever it may be, we gotta go here, it’s time.”
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