On April 24, 2020, World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing launched a Return to Racing initiative and Resource Center designed as an open-source portal for all sanctioned race tracks to use in support of their individual efforts to get race cars and, in some instances, race fans, back to the track.
Through March, April, and into May, race tracks of all description and disciplines sat idle as the world came to grips with a pandemic that changed the lives of everyone around the globe. On Friday, May 8, 2020, at Knoxville Raceway, one of the most historic venues in dirt-track racing, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car engines roared and an industry awoke from its enforced slumber.
To reach that historic evening in Iowa World Racing Group staff worked with state, county, and city public health departments and government officials to understand what could and could not be achieved given the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidelines and procedures were developed that, slowly and surely, enabled race tracks across the country to reopen – some with race fans in attendance, many without.
In the ensuing 10 months much has been learned about the novel coronavirus, and businesses have adapted in ways many did not think possible a year ago. As some communities in the United States begin to plan and hold events World Racing Group has updated its guidelines and procedures for helping race tracks navigate hosting events while keeping fans, staff, officials, and race teams safe. Event planners and officials can determine, in collaboration with state ad local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Because COVID-19 virus circulation varies in communities, these guidelines are meant to supplement – not replace – any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.
These guidelines and procedures were developed with the support of motorsports experts Agajanian & Anthony, P.C., Mr. Jeff Ladd at Sports Insurance Specialists, LLC, and Dr Jack Faircloth, MD, Coordinating Panelist for the North Mecklenburg (NC) COVID-19 Response Team. The guidelines represent the latest thinking and information issued by the CDC, OSHA, FDA, and more.
The World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Racing wants to thank our fans, drivers, race teams, tracks, partners, and suppliers for their amazing support over the past 12 months. We also need to acknowledge stakeholders from every major sanctioning body that have worked together behind the scenes in unprecedented fashion. The motorsports world embodies the definition of community, and the efforts being made by so many for the safety and stability of our community will continue to pay dividends for years to come.