|7/1/2020 11:53:00 AM|
Racing coming on strong after virus hiatus
|Twin Cities is expected to be back on track July 11.—Staff Photo by Johnathan Kipper|
Johnathon KipperAfter a hiatus of sports over the last couple months, motorsports have returned to the Hoosier State.
Races at tracks similar to Brownstown and Twin Cities have slowly made a restart in some states, such as Georgia and Tennessee, which have been covered by Jennings County High School principal Dustin Roller.
Roller, who has served as principal since 2018, also has a motorsports podcast called "Throttled Up."
Motorsports started making a comeback locally on May 30, when Brownstown Speedway held its first event of the season with a twist; no fans in the stands.
"One of the weirdest things was for the drivers who won," Roller said. "How do you celebrate without fans there? Even the most hated personalities in motorsports feed of the booing of the fans."
The quietness from the stands did not last for long, however, as Brownstown started allowing fans to attend races on June 13, with social distancing in place. This was after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb moved up the starting date of Stage 4 of the Back on Track plan. Having only 50 percent of fans could have made the night at the track seem not quite normal yet, but it was just the opposite.
"It was so extreme having nobody there, that even going to 50 percent made it seem normal," Roller said. "We had a great crowd and it made it feel like a big night again."
Tracks around the local area have been challenged with when and how they will reopen for the season. Lawrenceburg Speedway opened for practices on June 13 and races with fans on June 20th. Salem Speedway will host its first event, the Firecracker 150, on July Fourth.
Twin Cities Raceway Park, located here in North Vernon, says that they will be getting back to racing soon, with July 11th as a tentative start date. According to track promotor Tim Keithley, the track had decided to repair some fencing around the track before the Governor moved up the start of when fans could be allowed back.
Social distancing guidelines have affected racing in general, as series like NASCAR have limited the number of crew members allowed during the race and how much teams can interact with one another. Brownstown Speedway limited teams to six crew members, a number which Roller said is a blessing to have for most.
"The toughest thing locally is that the racing community locally is pretty much one big family," he said. "I've seen competitors find parts during races for one another to help each out. With social distancing, you do not get to see those interactions."
As the world of sports has been put on pause for the last few months, it is nice to see racing getting back into action locally. For people and families wanting to get back to watching sports in person, Roller encourages going out to a race sometime and supports your local tracks and speedways.
"It amazes me how many people I know living around here that say "I've never been to Twin Cities or Brownstown or Salem' or whatever it may be," said Roller. "Go. Take your family. You will get a full night of entertainment in comparison to most other things. It's definitely worth your time to check out a local race."
Throttled Up: The Podcast started back in 2018 as a simple idea between two friends and has since grown into what it is today.
"Officer (Matt) Staples and I both had offices by each other at the time at the high school," said Roller. "One day after school we were talking. I made the comment I was going to start doing some podcasting and asked if he wanted to do one about racing, which he was all about."
It began with a card table and a simple two microphone setup and has now become a multimedia setup.
In March of this year, Throttled Up, which is a part of APR Podcast Studios, merged with Dirt2Media, a video service. They are now both housed under a newly created parent company, Thirsty Goat Entertainment. The merger has allowed the podcast to expand on what races they cover and how they do so.
Throttled Up: The Podcast can be seen every Wednesday starting at 8 p.m. on their Facebook page. You can also listen and catch up on previous episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you can stream podcasts.
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