The Alaska Raceway Park 2020 would normally be open by now, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the state’s largest and most professional racetrack to postpone with a soft open slated for Memorial Day Weekend.
“It was kind of weird,” Alaska Raceway Park President Michelle Lackey Maynor said. “I live out at the track. It’s weird not having stuff going on.”
During the soft open, people will have the chance to test and tune their vehicles. Maynor noted some racers may be able to hold some casual races amongst each other, but the whole atmosphere will be very “laid back.”
“We’re just trying to fill a need and get people back to racing and enjoying the outdoors as safely as possible,” Maynor said.
Maynor said they’ve sent the plans for the event for state approval. She said they worked everything around the phase two health mandates.
“As long as that’s approved, we shouldn’t have a problem,” Maynor said.
The raceway’s seasons normally start with Mother’s Day and closes in the fall during Labor Day weekend. Countless individuals and families across the Valley and beyond have made the racetrack one of their summer traditions and favorite pastimes.
Maynor said there’s plenty of distance between the parking spaces and they’re restricting the number of racers to the total number of spaces available. She said the staff will be wearing masks and sanitizing surfaces while the drivers will be in their cars with helmets.
“We shouldn’t have any issues,” We should be able to operate just fine within the mandate,” she said.
Maynor said that she hopes to get the track closer to normal as soon as possible. She said they have to follow social distancing measures around the state mandates and they have to limit the number of spectators until state officials approve the next phase in the multi-step plan to reopen Alaska.
“Hopefully after Memorial Day, stuff starts opening up,” Maynor said. “People are itching for stuff to do.”
While it’s unknown how relaxed the mandates will be by phase three, Maynor anticipates holding more test and tunes, and ideally, open up races and special events like kid races later in the summer. She said they plan to debut several new events as well.
See the Alaska Raceway Park on Facebook or visit their website for updated test and tune and track schedules.
Racer pre-registration forms are also available on their website Otherwise, people can fill out the forms when they get to the track.
Maynor said she appreciates all the support from their sponsors, fans and greater community.
“It definitely helps keep things level headed and keep us motivated,” Maynor said. “We’re excited to get back to racing and to revive this ability for people to come out. We’re just really looking forward to seeing our track family again.”
For more information, call 907-746-7223 or visit raceak.com.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org