PLYMOUTH – While the national sports world grapples with the challenges of COVID-19, one of the first venues to open for the new season continues to race steadily ahead.
Plymouth Speedway was one of the first race tracks in the country to get the pits open and start racing and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.
“It’s been going great so far,” said Irish Saunders. “The vast majority of the racing family, the race teams, the fans, the families, have all abided by the requirements laid out by Governor Holcomb and Dr. Holm and it’s just because they don’t want to lose something that is important to them.”
“We worked very hard to be one of the first tracks in the country to open and thanks to people like (County Commissioner) Kevin Overmyer and (County Councilwoman) Judy Stone and Dr. Holm working hard to make that happen we were able to do that,” he said. “It’s more than just racing though. Hoosier Tire is the biggest manufacturer of racing tires in the world and we had some moments but we are back up and running again and that’s good for the County.”
The first influx of racers didn’t hurt in bringing some notoriety either as drivers and their teams from all over the midwest and further made the trip to Plymouth to get back to racing.
“We had racers from Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, all over the region,” said Saunders. “We had 142 cars one night and that’s almost too many. We’ve been running about 100 or so since and that lets us have a great night of racing and get people home at a decent hour too.”
“Attendance has been really good,” he said. “We can only have 50 percent of our total but we’ve had some people that maybe haven’t been to a race before get out just to get the family out, some others have been a little cautious with everything that’s going on but our car counts and our fans have been solid and we’re getting races in and moving them along in a timely manner.”
The track has some big events coming up in the next month starting this weekend with a two-night event. Saturday night the NRA 360 sprint cars followed on Sunday by the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars.
“Tony (Stewart) track at Eldora is the big track around and a lot of people are really missing those two event weekends,” said Saunders. “We thought we’d have that kind of weekend and on Saturday we’re going to have the NRA Sprint Cars and on Sunday the World of Outlaws asked if they could lease the track and they will be putting on their show.”
“These (World of Outlaws) are the best in the world that will be coming in on Sunday,” he said. “It is the best of the best.”
Some of those “best of the best” drivers are no strangers to Plymouth either.
David Gravel, of Watertown, CT. is the last driver to win a World of Outlaws race at Plymouth Speedway in 2017. He’s out of the hunt for the driver’s championship, but his racing team is still in contention for the team championship just 26 points back from the lead.
Ten-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz will be racing on Sunday as will the reigning champion Brad Sweet who enters the weekend as the current points leader.
Just a few weeks away the track will welcome a legend, in racing and the state of Indiana, when Tony Stewart will return to Plymouth Speedway on Aug. 22.
With the limit of 50 percent attendance, it is always a good idea to get tickets ahead of time.
“There are still tickets available but buying online is a good idea,” said Saunders. “You can just print your receipt and show up.”
Race fans can go to https://plymouthspeedway.net/ and click on the buy tickets button.