Challenges Ahead Will Take Help From All of Us
The COVID-19 virus has dominated our world for the last few weeks, and probably will for the foreseeable future. I won’t talk about the projections, or use any phrases like “social distancing” or “flattening the curve” or “shelter-in-place.” I am confident we will have a racing season of some kind — right now things are uncertain and they change day by day. I do know the COVID-19 crisis is a serious health issue and in no way am I diminishing that. It’s been a really tough few weeks to see so many people seriously ill or losing their lives and I don’t think the worst has hit yet, sadly. I also know it is having a crushing effect on our economy, especially on many small businesses. Many people have been laid off, had to take pay cuts and I fear some will lose their jobs permanently. At some point, hopefully soon, things will start to return to normal in our country. It may be a gradual process. That includes racing for some of us. Racetracks most likely will not be immune to these struggles, either. Some will lose sponsors, some drivers may not be able to afford to race because they’ve been laid off or lost their jobs. And there’s always the question of putting fans in the seats, which is even more worrisome in these times. So when we get to racing season, how do we help the hobby through these challenges. The answer, to me is this: it takes all of us. That includes drivers. That includes fans. That includes sponsors. That includes people supporting these sponsors and businesses. We all can help in even a small way and frankly we will need to. Maybe those of us not as affected by much can do things like buy tickets for fans or buy a pit pass. Or go and support a business that supports racing/local tracks that has been hit hard from the crisis. It’s not going to be easy and there will be tough times ahead. But any little thing we can do will help. RaceChaser Notes —Andrew Jochim of Glyndon, who had raced in the INEX Legends since 2014, is making the jump to the IMCA Stock Car class for 2020. Norman County Raceway in Ada and Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo run that class weekly. It’s a good addition to a class that has produced some dang good racing locally. —Long-time Viking Speedway late model competitor Clarence Washburn of Hector, Minn., was inducted into the KRA Speedway Hall of Fame on Jan. 25. Washburn is still racing late models at age 76 — clearly a driver with racing in his blood who still loves being at the track. —The NLRA Late Models have a 16-race schedule for 2020 that was released earlier this month. The season includes five trips to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, three trips to Greenbush Race Park, two trips each to Norman County Raceway in Ada and Devils Lake Speedway, and trips to Sheyenne Speedway in Lisbon, Jamestown Speedway, Nodak Speedway in Minot and Grand Rapids (Minn.) Speedway. Some changes — there are no stops scheduled for Viking Speedway and Red River Valley Speedway, two former regulars. That’s a bummer to some late model fans, but there’s still some good chances locally to see the lates. Brad Seng of Grand Forks is the defending NLRA champion. —Instead of doing individual previews on the Wissota Late Model Challenge Series, the NOSA Sprint Schedule and the Advantage RV Tour, they will be previewed in the midst of other blogs like the NLRA Late Models. Stay tuned for updates on that. —Watch for previews on I-94 Speedway (tonight) Jamestown Speedway and River Cities Speedway for 2020 soon. Haven’t heard anything from Buffalo River Race Park about 2020 schedule.