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Open Wheel Nationals to Be Run in Front of Fans in South Dakota Amid COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2020

JEFFERSON, GA - AUGUST 28:  The cars are lined up down pit row during an autograph session before the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Gresham Motorsports Park on August 28, 2010 in Jefferson, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

While much of the sports world is on hiatus and looking at the possibility of an immediate future of no fans in stadiums when games and events do return, the Open Wheel Nationals is taking a different route during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to ESPN, Park Jefferson International Speedway in North Sioux City, South Dakota, will hold the event Saturday in front of fans. Ticket sales were capped at 700, which is less than 20 percent of the 4,000 seat capacity.

South Dakota does not have any official restrictions in place to limit large gatherings like many other states do during the pandemic.

"I'm going to strongly recommend to the people of South Dakota that they not go and that they stay home," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said during her Tuesday news conference, per Tom Savage of the Argus Leader. "We're asking that they be wise and smart to continue on the path and plan we've laid out for South Dakota for several more weeks."

While Noem has not issued any statewide stay-at-home orders, she has advised against public gatherings of 10 or more people.

Adam Adamson, who owns the track, said the clubhouse that is the only building that holds more than 10 people on the grounds will be closed. He also explained the event will be cashless with no ticket booths since they were all presold.

"We intend to go overboard on following CDC guidelines," Adamson added. "We're just a small race track in rural South Dakota trying to give some entertainment and a little bit of a break from some of this madness that's going on right now. We think we can do so in a safe environment."

ESPN noted the 64 total teams competing represent less than half of the 150 the track can hold.

Former NASCAR Cup Series drivers Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace are among those on the modified entry list.

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