FARMER CITY, Ill. (WCIA) — Farmer City Raceway says under Phase Three of reopening they could start racing again, but if they did there would not be any fans. And the track says it would not make sense financially for them to do it without them.
The quarter-mile normally opens its season in early April. They say they have been trying to come up with a plan to race and have fans in the stands.
“There’s a lot of hoops to jump through, a lot of protocol that’s gotta happen,” says Raceway Committee Chairman Lance Spieker. “We understand being safe and doing all the safety stuff to keep everybody safe, but at the same time this is Central Illinois, this is the country where thank goodness we haven’t had any cases and we feel pretty safe here.”
DeWitt County has reported four positive cases during the crisis. The track has made some money from individual testing and tuning sessions. They say that has gone towards insurance and keeping the lights on, but some drivers have been affected by the pandemic as well. Which could lead to fewer drivers on the track.
“Normally by now we’ve received most of our sponsorship money for the year and we’ve used that to buy tires and things along those lines,” says driver David Marlow. “Fuel, oil, all those things we need to run week in and week out. Right now, businesses can’t support us in that way.”
There is no estimate for when racing will return. The track says it is going to let others in the state be the first ones to try and open. As soon as they can get a plan approved, they will be ready to be back on Friday nights.
“Farmer City’s heritage is between our race track and our horse track and even our BMX track,” says Spieker. “Racing’s definitely what Farmer City’s on the map for.”
Marlow has plans to race this year, but he will not have any sponsorship backing. He says he is donating the space on his car to his previous sponsors who have been impacted by the crisis.