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Racing is back, but only for the racers because of virus concerns

(Source: WRDW)
(Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 9:10 PM EDT
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News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

WASHINGTON CO, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- NASCAR is returning to Darlington this weekend, and other smaller racing associations are also getting their seasons back underway, but you aren't encouraged to go unless you're racing.

One of those racing tours is coming to Wilkes County. The Grand National Cross Country Series is coming to Aonia Pass in Washington this weekend with its 2020 Bulldog Motocross race.

"This has come with a tremendous amount of planning," Tim Cotter, GNCC event director, said.

The Wilkes County Commission, EMA, and other branches needed to sign off on those plans to actually let the races happen.

"They did not approve us until we were able to provide them a plan that they were comfortable with," Cotter said.

But it also comes with limitations.

"Are there spectators allowed at this race or no?" Mike Jakucionis of News 12, asked.

"We are not encouraging spectators, we are not advertising for spectators," Cotter explained.

There are plans in place to handle people who show up and are not part of the events. Teams are allowed to bring crews and all of the teams will have to pay to enter.

"The family members that come in are more crew members," Cotter said. "There's actually pit stops. The riders go into the pit and receive new goggles or receive gas. So it's not a one-man sport."

"We think we've addressed every single aspect of how we conduct our business," Roy Janson, GNCC competition director, said.

Signs will be on display around Aonia Pass to remind racers to keep their distance. Staff will also be required to wear PPE. When assisting racers and crews.

"The whole concept of racing is not to have contact and to -- you want to win the race and not get involved in contact," Janson said.

Even winning will be different. There won't be a podium ceremony and teams are being encouraged to leave as soon as they're done.

A 40-person team was assembled featuring doctors, racing professionals, media members, and more were assembled to get a "Return to racing" plan in place.

And this isn't the end for fans: the GNCC hopes that they will be able to have spectators at future races.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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