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Saturday will mark two months since there has been any action at Citrus County Speedway

Citrus County Speedway
Joe Hamilton takes one final practice at Citrus County Speedway after track officials opened up private track rentals last week. Citrus County Speedway is restarting the 2020 season Saturday, May 16 with a full race card including Super Late Model 50, Anything Automotive Mini Stock 25, Outlaw Street Stock 25, Ford Outlaw Figure 8. KIMBERLY KELLY / FOR THE CHRONICLE

Racing action returns to CCS
Social distancing rules in place

Kimberly Kelly
For the Chronicle

Saturday will mark two months since there has been any action at Citrus County Speedway. But that is all about to change. Stock car racing returns Saturday night (May 16) after being red-flagged due to Florida Governor Ran DeSantis’ Safe-At-Home directives because of COVID-19.

It’s a night that everyone has been waiting for.

“We are full speed ahead,” said CCS General Manager Camron Ray. “Everybody is ready to go back racing. And I think it’s going to be better than what it was.”

Citrus County Speedway is not the first race track to open since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Last weekend, both 417 Speedway (Punta Gorda) and Showtime Speedway (Pinellas Park) both held race events. Joe Hamilton, the driver of the No. 10 Sportsman car, was at Citrus County Speedway last week preparing for the Wheel Man Sportsman Series event scheduled for May 9 at 417 Speedway.

“We should have done this a long time ago,” Joe Hamilton said after his practice session. “I hope things get back to normal and they let it go back to the way things were.”

Hamilton traveled over 1.5 hours to tune his car at CCS. On race days he is part of a group of seven cars that bring 30-40 people to each venue.
The Inverness venue has been open for private practice sessions for the last two weeks. More than a dozen drivers have taken advantage of the sessions in anticipation of the return of stock car racing.

And now that that day has come, track officials have announced there will be some limitations both fans and drivers.

“We are going to limit out capacity to 35% which means 900 people in the grandstand and 500 in the pits,” Ray said. “We are going to do our part by keeping everybody safe.”

Spectators are asked to practice social distancing while in the main grandstand area. Race cards will be put on every other slab so there is open space between each.

Track officials will be constantly cleaning touchable surfaces throughout the facility. Masks in both areas of the race track are recommended. What is not limited will be the competition level when the cars get on the track.
Headlining Saturday night’s race schedule is the Super Late Models in 50 laps of high-paced high-competitive action. Also The Anything Automotive Mini Stock 25, Pure Stock 25, Outlaw Street Stock 25, and Ford outlaw Figure 8s will also be part of the night’s show.

The main grandstand opens at 5:30 p.m. with race action starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the main grandstand area is $15.00 for adults, $5 for students 17, and children 6 and under are free.

“I have a feeling when it opens up it will be packed,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know of a single person in the racing community that is not going to be there.”

Kimberly Kelly covers Citrus County Speedway for the Citrus County Chronicle. This story first published May 12, 2020.