Promoters at a South Dakota track plan to hold an auto race Saturday that would be one of the first live sports events in the country since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

They intend to do so over the advice of Gov. Kristi Noem , who urged people not to attend the Open Wheel Nationals at Park Jefferson International Speedway in North Sioux City.

“I’m going to strongly recommend to the people of South Dakota that they not go and that they stay home,” said the Republican governor, who has not issued a stay-at-home order. “We’re asking that they be wise and smart to continue on the path and plan we’ve laid out for South Dakota for several more weeks.”

Adam Adamson, the track owner and a co-promoter of the race, told the ArgusLeader.com that tickets have been presold, concessions must be purchased with credit cards and that a 10-person clubhouse in which fans can watch the race will be closed.

“We intend to go overboard on following CDC guidelines,” Adamson said. “We’re just a small racetrack in rural South Dakota trying to give some entertainment and a little bit of a break from some of this madness that’s going on right now. We think we can do so in a safe environment.”

There will be two fields of competition (410-category sprint cars and IMCA modifieds) with each limited to 32 entries apiece at a track that can accommodate 150.

“The way we figured it, we could probably have a little over 900 people with six feet apart between each person, and we’re actually only selling 700 seats, not even 900,” co-promoter Terry Carl said. “We actually went way less than that just to give people more room. There isn’t community transmission in that county, and according to the CDC, we’re still eligible to do what we want to do.”


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