By Ray Hamill — Redwood Acres Raceway officials announced on Wednesday morning that next week’s race night has been canceled, but stressed they are optimistic of a return to action before the end of June.
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich was unable to give the go-ahead for the proposed June 6 season opener, which would have taken place behind closed doors and streamed live online.
Even without fans, the event would have seen a gathering of around 225 people — including drivers, pit crews and officials — for upwards of eight hours on back-to-back days for practice and racing.
“She was concerned about having that many people together that long,” RAR board member Jim Redd said.
Both Lake and Mendocino counties recently gave the green light for local racing to return, but neither area has seen a recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases the way Humboldt has, and that’s something that no doubt played a role in the decision.
Redd added, however, that Frankovich was impressed with the raceway’s proposal and he is optimistic they will be given the go-ahead for a June 20 season opener.
The RAR proposal included keeping the pits 10 feet apart, the wearing of masks, and directly escorting drivers and their teams to their allocated areas.
“She said she really liked our plan,” Redd said. “She responded in a very positive way … She’s doing her job and I appreciate that.”
RAR officials have already submitted a request to race on June 20, although if given the go-ahead Redd does not expect fans at the raceway for at least the next two race nights.
He added that the local track will be ready to go whenever they get the go-ahead.
“We’ve got everything in place,” he said. “If we get the green light, we only need about two weeks to prepare.”
The track, which recently installed a brand new state-of-the-art scoreboard, remains available for individual cars to practice.
The cancelation was the third of the spring for the raceway, but officials will be looking at rescheduling those events later in the season if possible.
The cancelation also included the North State Modified Series, which was scheduled to make its only appearance of the summer, but the series has now been added to the season finale Fall Spectacular weekend on September 26 and 27 instead.