Michigan Dirt Tracks React to Executive Order



Six Facilities Announce Schedule Adjustments


Sterling Heights, MI (Saturday, April 25, 2020) - With all race tracks, teams, and fans waiting to find out when the 2020 season could get underway, it became clear on Friday morning tha in Michigan, the wait will be extended. With the announcement by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to extend the “Stay at Home” order until May 15th, I-96 Speedway became the first of several race tracks to cancel events through the month of May.


In a statement released by Jeff Dice, Owner/Promoter of the Lake Odessa facility, most race track activities have been cancelled through May 29th. In part, the statement read, “Due to the extension of Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order, MI 2020-42, we are forced to cancel all track activity in the month of May as required per Michigan state law.”


Dice also announced that he was able to secure a reschedule date for the Great Lakes Sprint Car Nationals, originally scheduled for May 8th and 9th. The event will now take place on August 28th and 29th. All other dates in May were cancelled. The new tentative opening date is now scheduled for Friday, June 5th.


In addition, Mike Blackmer, Promoter of Merritt Speedway and Tri-City Motor Speedway, announced that all on track activities for the month of May at both facilities, have been cancelled. The announcement was made via a Facebook Live video on Friday afternoon. Blackmer commented in the video that any racing that may happen in 2020, could be without fans, and possibly using pay-per-view, if it makes good business sense to do so. Blackmer also announced that he would be holding a video conference next weekend with race teams, to discuss options for the 2020 season.

Hartford Speedway officials announced that the 2020 race season will be put on hold until further notice. In a statement released on the Speedway’s Facebook page by Promoters Tim & Leah Dibble, it was noted that the track ‘will open when the time is right’. No future dates were announced.


Muskegon, Michigan’s Thunderbird Raceway followed the same protocol, officially announcing their May 2nd and May 9th events have been cancelled. Tom Sprague, Owner/Promoter of Thunderbird Raceway said in his statement that they would race once the state’s stay at home order was lifted and the ban on mass gatherings was over, so that fans and drivers could be in attendance together; seemingly indicating that the option to race without fans was off the table.


Silver Bullet Speedway left no room for interpretation in their announcement suspending the season opening event indefinitely. Matt and Nick Hoonout said in their social media post that they too would wait for restrictions to be lifted by governing bodies, and noted that while some sports venues are pursuing the option of holding events without fans, they do not have that option, and cannot hold events without fans.


With the extension of the order, other venue cancellations are likely, and many are assumed despite official announcements. Watch the Horsepower Happenings website and social media pages for future updates.


For more stories like this, visit horsepowerhappenings.com. Tune in to the weekly podcast premiering every Monday evening or listen anytime on-demand. Follow Horsepower Happenings on Facebook and on Twitter @HPHpodcast.

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