BRASSTOWN, N.C. — Promoter Ray Cook is planning to restart the racing season in North Carolina with a special invitational race on April 30 at the Tri-County Race Track.
Cook is promoting a 40-lap super late model feature called the Schaeffer’s Oil Tarheel Invitational. Only drivers invited by Cook will be allowed to participate in the $4,000-to-win event.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no race fans will be allowed to attend the event and track officials will be enforcing strict social-distancing measures for each of the 25 invited race teams. Each race team will be permitted two pit crew members and haulers will be required to park at least 25 to 30 feet away from each other to ensure space between attendees.
Cook has been in direct contact with the Clay County Commissioner, Clay County Health Commissioner and Clay County Sheriff’s Office in order to clear his plan to open Tri-County for racing in a manner that follows all guidelines and recommendations amid the coronavirus crisis.
In addition, the Clay County Sheriff will be on the grounds with deputies the night of the event to ensure proper social distancing measures will be enforced.
“We’re just trying to make something happen as safely as we possibly can,” Cook said of what will be the first dirt late model event in the country since racing was shut down by the pandemic in mid-March. “We’ve called everybody I know to call, and I’ve called some of them I didn’t need to call. We’re not trying to hide anything. We’re trying to be above the board on everything.
“We just want to find a way to give everybody who loves the sport a chance to see some racing and give them a break for a night from everything that’s going on.”
The Schaeffer’s Oil Tarheel Invitational — an invite-only event in order to restrict the number of teams in the pit area — will include a full program of qualifying, dash and heat races leading into the 40-lap feature.
Among the drivers scheduled to compete are Shane Clanton, Tyler Erb, Brandon Overton, Hudson O’Neal, Casey Roberts, Ashton Winger, Donald McIntosh, Kyle Hardy, Shanon Buckingham and Michael Chilton.
Other invitees are Glenn Barnett, Shawn Chastain, Kenny Collins, Joe Denby, Jadon Frame, Payton Freeman, Cody King, Cla Knight, Danny Ledford, Tyler Millwood, Robby Moses, Jamie Oliver, David Payne, Joey Standridge and Pearson Lee Williams.