PLEASANTON, Texas – I-37 Speedway was able to race Saturday night and in doing so set an all-time short track attendance record.
The grandstands were completely empty.
The agreement worked out with Atascosa County included no spectators allowed and a carefully controlled pit area population. A 40-car maximum with just one crew member per car was in place. Teams left pit space open between haulers, there was no group driver’s meeting and there was no congregating allowed in the pit area. These conditions were in place to preserve the social distancing requirement.
Track staff cleaned everything thoroughly prior to race night and instituted a no handshake policy for the teams. No concession nor souvenir stand were part of the plan to keep interaction among people at a minimum.
Fans had the opportunity to watch live on Race On Texas and entries were set during the days leading up to race night. Drawing for heat assignments was handled Friday evening on Facebook for the prepaid entrants, of which 31 were in the pits. Each division ran heats to align main events straight up based on heat finishes. No entries were accepted at the track.
Lineups were available online only and post-race payoff was done by having a track official visit each pit with the funds. Procedures were designed so each person could comply with the no gathering of more than 10 per Texas policy. Two USRA sanctioned divisions raced for national and regional points, but not for track points.
An 11-car field of limited modifieds had several entrants not show. Robert Minten Jr. and Johnny Torres won heats and filled the front row of the 25-lap main. The early laps were dominated by Torres until a flat just after the halfway point put Talon Minten at the point.
Minten had pressure from Robert Minten Jr. for multiple laps with Allen Torres and Ryan Doyon adding names to the list of contenders. The top-three raced each other while J. Torres worked his way forward from the back following a tire change.
It wasn’t settled until the final two laps when J. Torres regained the lead with a low line effort in turn two, but T. Minten won the race from turn four to the finish line, using the lower line for the narrow win. J. Torres was second ahead of his brother, Allen Torres, with Brandon Brzozowski and Ryan Doyon completing the top five.
Factory stocks drew 20 cars for a three heat format on the wide quarter-mile. Johnny Westfall, Collin Hodges and Anthony Gordon won eight-lap preliminaries to earn front of the pack assignments for the 25-lap main.
Hodges used his outside front row start to take the lead with an upper line drive through turn two on the opening lap. Once in front, Hodges withstood Joshua Sewell’s pressure the rest of the way, pulling away a bit over the last few laps. Sewell pulled alongside at the line at one point, but that became the only time he could draw alongside Hodges.
Following Hodges and Sewell at the finish were Johnny Westfall, 2019 defending track champion Tryton Temple and Allan Torres.
I-37 Speedway was able to present what may have been the only race in the country, dodging some morning weather issues and offering some very competitive action for fans watching from numerous states.