On Track: Jamestown Speedway expects big crowds this season

Jamestown Speedway view 060320.jpg
The Jamestown Speedway is set to begin racing Saturday night. John M. Steiner / The Sun

When asked how the Jamestown Speedway was going to make the 2020 racing season as normal as possible, co-owner Allison Baldwin paused.

"We have plans to race now every weekend until the end of the August with the only exception being August 1," Baldwin said. "We're just really trying to give the drivers and racers as much opportunity to race as possible."

The opportunities for drivers will begin this Saturday at 7 p.m.

"We're feeling pretty good," Baldwin said about the opener. "Having the month of May off we've been able to tackle some projects but it has also given us a lot of time to get things in shape and cleaned up and ready to go."

Baldwin said though the track normally begins the season in early May, Jamestown Speedway wanted to take extra time to ensure protocols surrounding the coronavirus pandemic were a non-issue for drivers and racing fans.


"We just really wanted to be in conversation with the county and looking at the state guidelines and just making sure that we are following all of the guidelines we need to keep everyone safe and give ourselves a little extra time to prepare to meet the COVID guidelines," Baldwin said.

The guidelines adopted will follow the large group gathering and restaurant protocols.

Baldwin said the concession stand area and grandstand areas have been rearranged in order to accommodate social distancing practices. Each of the three grandstands is able to hold 250 spectators with the new guidelines in place. Baldwin said the Speedway will limit ticket sales to 750 total. For concessions, there will be no self-serve condiments and frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected and sanitized at regular intervals throughout the night.

While there will be changes made and protocols adopted due to the pandemic, Baldwin said the track will still try and implement some of its more popular fan experiences.

"As far as the fans go, we're going to try and continue all of the family-friendly things that we started last year," Baldwin said. "We always tried to have some cars up in victory lane as people walked in so they could get up close to the car and talk to drivers. We started a kids' prize wheel last year that was really popular. We might have to modify it a little bit -- hand sanitize before they go up and touch it -- but we'll probably still do it."

Baldwin said little ones will have the opportunity to ride the "kids bus" again this season. On race night the bus drives down in the pits and kids watch the drivers and pit crews prepare for the laps around the track. For adults, the speedway will hold the weekly drawings featuring prizes from local businesses.

"With a lot of things being postponed and canceled, so far the feedback that we've gotten is that people are just really excited to see a community event happen," Baldwin said. "I think drivers are really chomping at the bit to have a place to go race. I think there are a lot of drivers out there that are really excited to be able to get some seat time and get out on the track. We're hoping for some good car counts."

Baldwin said the speedway will continue to feature all six classes of cars: bombers, Midwest mods, streets, modifieds, legends and slingshots. Due to time constraints, Baldwin said there are a couple of dates on the racing schedule that will not feature all six classes. There is no limit on the number of drivers who can enter the speedway.


There will be a limit on fans but Baldwin said she is hopeful for a solid start to the season.

"It's hard to really know for sure how many people will come out," Baldwin said. "But with the stuff, we've started on social media, we've had a lot of people inquiring about the races. I think people are just excited to have a community event to go to. Our hope is that people are able to come out, feel safe and enjoy themselves."

Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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