HOLT, Fla. — Officials from the Southeast Gassers Ass’n and Emerald Coast Dragway have elected to postpone this weekend’s event that was scheduled to open the SEGA season.
With most of the country’s racing already suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, SEGA founder Quain Stott was hoping to find a way to hold this event for the unique brand of drag racing that transports racers and fans alike back to 1967, but decided against putting the organization’s racers in a difficult situation.
“After tons of research we have found that the risk of the government stepping in and shutting us down is too great to chance,” Stott said on Monday afternoon. “Sending racers, fans and sponsors on an average seven-hour trip only to be told they can’t race just doesn’t make good sense. As most know, I love to stand my ground but only when the outcome hurts just me. This time the wrong outcome will hurt thousands of others.
“This is not about the virus, it’s about the panic being created because of the virus. It’s not about the money because we have great sponsors that would cover that,” Stott continued. “It’s about trying my best to be a good leader and make decisions that is best for all involved.
“The final decision was made today by Rocky Platt, Emerald Coast Dragway owner Ryan Milliken and me,” Stott added. “All three of us wanted to fight the system but knew a good leader would never take his troops into a battle he knew they would lose. If it would have only affected the three of us, Rocky and I would be headed that way right now to help Ryan get ready for the battle but that’s not the case this time.”
Stott provided some insight into how delicate navigating around the restrictions in place because of the coronavirus outbreak has become.
“Several things helped make the decision,” Stott said. “One example is Steve Bright (A SEGA official), who works for the defense department, was told that he and his family could not leave the state. Angela Blackwell, our girl in the tower that we can’t do without, was told by her real job that if she left the state, she would have to be home quarantined at for 14 days before returning to work.
“I could go on and on with examples about staff and racers that just flat can’t go by no fault of their own and many more with underlying health issues that don’t need to be going but would have just to support the Southeast Gassers Ass’n.”
Stott stressed that the Emerald Cost event has been postponed and that every effort will be made to have the race.
“Notice it says postponed,” Stott said. “We are going to do our best to reschedule this event for the Florida and Alabama fans that have been so supportive in helping us promote it.”