S.C. race track shuts down Saturday race over coronavirus outbreak concerns

Races at Lancaster speedway will go on despite pandemic

LANCASTER, S.C.. (WBTV) - After hearing concerns and complaints, a speedway in South Carolina is canceling its weekend race.

The race was scheduled to be held Saturday at Lancaster Motor Speedway.

On Friday, speedway officials decided that it was better to abide by Gov. Henry McMaster’s order to halt all mass gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

There have been a lot of conversations this week concerning the race tomorrow night at Lancaster Motor Speedway. After...

Posted by Lancaster County Sheriff's Office SC on Friday, March 20, 2020

“After those conversations, the officials at Lancaster Motor Speedway have made the decision to cancel tomorrow night’s race out of concern for their fans and the general public,” a Tweet from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said.

On Thursday, WBTV reported that the race was still going to take place despite the warning from the governor.

The race in Lancaster was expected to bring in more than 1,000 people.

McMaster’s order is to limit events to 50 people or less.

Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and government officials looked over the order multiple times, but it only addresses 50 people or less in public property.

Lancaster Speedway is private.

“People enjoy it. Keep people out of trouble. I don’t see no problem with it,” said an anonymous person who feels there’s no harm in the race.

“They should put it on hold until the pandemic’s gone and closed until further notice,” another person said.

Despite different opinions, Lancaster Speedway promoter Shannon Munn told WBTV that he wasn’t concerned.

“Everybody’s dying for something to do," Munn said. “This is a big ole open place it’s 40 acres down here. You don’t have to get close to each other. There’s only a couple of cases here in Lancaster County and we want to get the community doing something we like to do.”

Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis talked to councilmembers who heard complaints from people about the race, but said the county’s hands are tied.

“Local county governments in South Carolina do not have the authority to close private venues,” Willis said.

Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Doug Barfield said the wording of the order is more about what is not in the order than what it does address.

“It doesn’t address private property," Barfield said. “It seems pretty clear about the order being on publicly owned property. Based upon that there’s not a whole lot the sheriff’s office can do at this point.”

Munn says they made preparations for the race.

They planned to have hand sanitizer and extra soap available everywhere.

Munn also said speedway officials have been in contact with South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the governor’s office.

Now, they are taking advice from residents and officials, causing them to shut the race down.

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