One year after Covid-19 put it in park, the Orange County Speedway is getting rolling again. Track announcer and Chaplain Dennis McDonald is hoping fans eager to watch something from some place other than their couch will return to races and other events planned for the speedway.
“Yeah, that’s what we’re hoping,” McDonald said. “We’ll be following Covid protocols, like taking temperatures, having attendees fill out paperwork to state they hadn’t been sick in the last few days. As the announcer, I’m constantly on my guests to remember to social distance when they go to the restroom or go to the concession stands and social distance in the grandstand.”
Attendance for each event will be limited to 50 percent. Pre-Covid attendance for the speedway was several thousand people per race. The
The CARS Tour Old North State Nationals brought in more than 6,000 fans during its previous stop in Orange County.
The track, which has been in operation since 1966, and is considered “America’s fastest 3/8 mile,” released its 2021 schedule of 14 races and a variety of concerts and other events. The race season opener is April 10.
“We’re looking forward to having everybody back for 2021 racing season,” McDonald said. “We just secured three of our longtime sponsors: Choice Automotive of Creedmoor will sponsor two races, which will be called the Choice Automotive Chargers; Smokey Dave’s BBQ of Roxboro, which will sponsor the Mod 4; and Walker Auctions of Hillsborough, which will sponsor the Vintage Sportsman.”
McDonald has been involved with the speedway for nearly 20 years. He became the race announcer a few years ago somewhat by default.
“I said I would love to do one race, and everybody just kind of laughed,” he said. “Well, the guys that were announcing the races quit during the off season. The track owners called me and said, ‘Were you serious?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I would love to announce one race.’ They told me it might be more. So, I went out there and, next thing I knew, I was the announcer. And then Dave Brasher from WKRX radio called and said he’d heard I was announcing races in Orange County now. He said, ‘Well, you know you have to be on the radio, too.’ This year I’m doing radio at South Boston. This will be my fourth year of announcing races on Friday nights at Wake County Speedway.”
The track recently was used as a Covid-19 vaccination center. McDonald said two Orange County high schools will hold graduations at the speedway. Several high schools used the race track for graduation ceremonies last year, but families were not allowed to attend. This year families will be able to watch the graduations from the Orange County Speedway grandstand.
Orange County Speedway will be roaring this Saturday night, April 10th, as it begins its 2021 racing season! It will be “The Garry Emmons Memorial Night” with all six divisions taking on “America’s fastest 3/8 mile.”
Those racing will be the Late Models, the Walker Auctions Vintage Sportsman; the Smokey Dave’s BBQ Mod 4; the Winstead Farm Mini-Stock; the Southern Front Wheel Drive League, and the Choice Automotive Chargers.
Grandstand gates to open at 5:00 p.m. General admission is $15. Seniors over 65, all all active military, veterans and youth will be $12; all children 10 and under just $2.
Qualifying is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., with pre-race activities scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m. The Green flag will start the first event at 7 p.m.
Go to ocstrack.com for more information.