The sound of race cars returned Friday night at River Cities Speedway. But the sound wasn't quite the same as it is most Friday nights.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, River Cities Speedway held a test-and-tune event, one that strictly followed social distancing guidelines that have become commonplace everywhere. Drivers, however, are now hoping they will get a chance to compete on one of the more well-known tracks in the country.
RCS was scheduled to have its season opener Friday night, but track officials instead opted for the practice event as they were allowed only 250 people on site. The Grand Forks County Commission has the final say on race track operations since the track sits on county property
There were approximately 40 race cars and crews from the classes that run weekly at RCS. Drivers and crew members wore face masks and watched the practice from designated viewing spots.
No fans were allowed in the grandstand.
Track officials were pleased with how drivers and crew members practiced social distancing.
Whether actual races begin next Friday remains to be seen.
The county commission earlier this week agreed to allow 500 people on site for the scheduled May 29 opener. RCS officials had asked for 900.
No decision regarding the scheduled May 29 opener had been made as of late Friday night.
The practice laps almost went off without a hitch. However, Sabrina Hockenson flipped her sprint off Turn 2 early in the night. She walked away from the wreck.
Track improvements at RCS have been completed. A new catch fence now is in place along the main grandstand. Also, the track entrance that existed just off Turn 2 has now been fenced off. All cars now enter the track from Turn 3 and exit off Turn 1.
Only one race track in North Dakota has held a race this season. The Devils Lake Speedway opened last week and the track will hold another night of racing Saturday, May 23.