The wait may be over.
However, Crawford County Speedway is still taking the necessary precautions as it slowly rolls back into racing at the dirt track north of Van Buren.
Drivers practiced on Saturday (May 9) but with some added rules to help ensure the health and safety of the drivers, their families, and the workers at CCS.
“We are extremely excited about having our drivers back on the track this weekend,” said co-owner and promoter Peggy Watson. “The drivers had their cars ready for the March season opener and they’re eager to make some laps on the track. They are ready to go racing.”
Back on March 7, CCS hosted its season-opener car show and practice with about 95 race cars ready for the season. The track was looking forward to opening with the Sooner Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, and Grand Nationals for the first weekend with the other classes on the following weekend.
Everything was shut down before it even began as Arkansas and the world responded to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Drivers are to enter through the Pit Gate ($20 per person — all ages, any person entering). A maximum of 50 cars per session will be allowed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Drivers and crews are to exit through the Grandstand side when their session is completed. The Grandstands will not be open for the practices. A new pit concessions stand will be open.
Earlier this week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined Phase 1 of re-opening Arkansas which included outdoor gatherings of only 50 people.
“It wouldn’t be profitable for us to race at this time with a limited amount of people. We came up with a plan to practice a couple of classes for each time slot,” said Watson. “We’re not opening the grandstands so we can monitor and keep all the restrictions in one area.”
Public-health mandated face coverings are required for anyone over the age of 10 and social distancing guidelines will be in effect and enforced at all times.
The gates open at 4:30 p.m. for the Front Wheel Drive, Mini Stock and Mod Lite classes to practice and must exit at 6 p.m.
The Grand National and Pure Stock classes can enter at 6:30 p.m. and must exit at 8 p.m.
The gates reopen for the A Modified, B Modified, and Late Models at 8:30 p.m. All participants must exit at 10 p.m.
The governor will make additional changes to outdoor gatherings on May 18.
“We’re hoping to be able to set a date for a grand reopening maybe Memorial Day weekend or at least the first of June,” Watson said. “Nothing is certain on that date yet.”
Watson said the track is considering to expand its racing season into October (it normally ends by late September). The track spent the off-season working on the grandstands and updating the concession stand.
“We have worked extremely hard to make CCS one of the greatest places in Crawford County and the entire area to take the whole family for a fun-filled evening with food and entertainment,” she said.
CCS will continue to work with local authorities and follow all guidelines and recommendations as they navigate through this unique time.
Check with the Crawford County Speedway Facebook account for up-to-date information.