The 2020 season begins Wednesday night at 300 Raceway in Farley, giving fans and drivers alike an opportunity to learn what “new norms” are going to look like.
“Our capacity is over 5,000 so we could easily hold 2,500 people,” operations coordinator Joe Demmer said. “We want to keep it closer to 2,000 though to make sure people have space, are comfortable and are not at a location or facility where they feel at risk or like we’re not taking care of them.
“We just want to make sure it’s a fun, family-friendly and safe environment for all.”
Demmer and his race-promoting brother-in-law, RJ Simon, are anticipating 25-plus cars in the IMCA Modified and Sports Mod divisions with the IMCA Late Model and Stock Car classes expecting at least 15 to 20 entries. That should draw plenty of sports fans out who are itching for live action.
“We have 40-plus acres with more space next door at Simon Trucking, if needed,” Demmer said. “We also have a large pit area so drivers can spread out for safety.”
The expected large crowd will be celebrating the life of one if its own. Named the Cobra Lanes Opening Night, the season-opening races are in memory of Randy Mackey, a longtime flagman and race director who died earlier this year.
“We’re going to be one of the first tracks of the year in Iowa that will be racing with fans in the grandstands,” Demmer said. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone out here supporting us, which supports the racers. We all have a great time together and the forecast is looking good. We’re looking forward to a great year of racing.”
Mitch Manternach of Earlville is excited to get back on the track in front of fans.
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“It’s going to be unreal,” said Manternach, who will be racing an IMCA late model for the first time. “I anticipate a huge crowd and a lot of cars and I encourage everyone to come out and see what dirt track racing is all about.
“Farley is one of the fastest, smoothest, widest, banked tracks you’ll race on in the country. It’s definitely one of the best venues to attend and we’ll hopefully put on a good show.”
Entry is $10 for adults 18 and over, $8 for students 13 to 17 and former military. Twelve-and-under and 70-plus are free. Pit passes are $25 for anyone over 13.
Will fans in the stands actually make a difference?
“It’s totally different,” Manternach said. “As much as we do it for our own personal success, we do a lot of what we do for the fans. Without them we couldn’t do it and they are everything to our sport.”