Brian Deitz ~ Northern Ohio Racing Report
If you’re like me and had plans to attend the 8th annual Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway later this month, you need to make other plans. NASCAR’s revised 2020 schedule does not include the only NASCAR national series event that runs on dirt. Even with plans for reduced capacity, Eldora officials were unable to get the green light from the state of Ohio to proceed with the event.
See below for the complete release posted on eldoraspeedway.com.
ROSSBURG, Ohio (July 8, 2020) – Eldora Speedway’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series event is not a part of the newly revised 2020 NASCAR series schedules. The eighth annual Eldora Dirt Derby, the only NASCAR national series event held on dirt, was to be held July 29-30.
The Ohio Department of Health’s robust response to the COVID-19 health crisis includes orders restricting mass gatherings and prohibiting spectators from grandstands at large venues. Given current conditions, state officials have withheld approval of Eldora’s proposal to host reduced capacity events in a responsible and safe manner.
Without certainty as to when Eldora might be able to host spectators, and if those dates would coincide with available dates on the NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series schedule, Eldora and NASCAR officials jointly agreed to remove the event from the 2020 calendar.
“Since we started working on this event in September 2012, it has been a collective team effort,” said Roger Slack, general manager of Eldora Speedway. “When we held the first NASCAR race on dirt in almost 43 years, nobody knew what would happen, what to expect, if it would work, or if there would be a second one. We all took a giant leap of faith and placed a lot of trust in each other – Eldora, NASCAR, the teams and, most importantly, the race fans – that we would all deliver a successful event.
“Eight years later, Eldora remains a highlight of the NASCAR season. The atmosphere in the grandstands is electric, and you can always count on someone having a big career moment that night. This year’s lineup of dirt racers who planned to battle the Truck Series regulars was going to produce one of our strongest fields ever. Losing this event is a gut punch for everyone who is a part of it.
“We’ve now lost races for every single local and national division that competes at Eldora. We cannot hold events without healthy race fans and racers. It’s that simple. The fastest way for us all to be back together again at Eldora, with full grandstands and full campgrounds, and $2 beers, is another collective team effort.
“As a community, racers and race fans need to heed the advice of our local doctors and nurses: practice social distancing; wear a cloth face covering, bandana or mask; wash your hands; and keep sanitizer at the ready. The virus knows no county line or state border and it’s on all of us to do our part to stop the spread. Until we do so, Eldora and a lot of speedways are going to sit empty.”
While the State of Ohio continues to develop reopening guidance for Large Venues as part of its Responsible RestartOhio program, approval for spectators to attend Ohio’s premier events and venues, including Eldora Speedway, is currently on pause.
The Memorial Tournament, founded by Jack Nicklaus and held at Dublin’s Muirfield Village Golf Club, was rescheduled from June to July 16-19. The event’s proposal to host spectators at a reduced capacity had been the only one approved to date by Responsible RestartOhio. However, officials from the state, tournament and PGA announced Monday that spectators would no longer be able to attend the event.
Fans who have purchased reserved seats, general admission tickets and campsites for the eighth annual Eldora Dirt Derby should retain their tickets, camping credentials and receipts at this time. With 2020 marking the conclusion of Eldora’s five-year sanction agreement with NASCAR, and the ever-changing dynamics associated with the coronavirus outbreak, discussions are ongoing between Eldora and NASCAR for 2021. The Eldora Speedway box office will communicate updates direct to the original patron account holder as they become available.
Answers to the most frequently asked questions, has been posted at the Dirt Derby Covid-19 resource page: HERE
Eldora officials are using a “When We Know, You’ll Know” policy to share event-related information with fans as soon as possible. Updates will be posted on http://www.EldoraSpeedway.com, directly to the patron accounts of fans who have purchased ticket and campsites, the Eldora Speedway email newsletter, and to the official Eldora Speedway accounts on social channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.