Shawano Speedway given the green light

Guidelines in place for everyone’s safety
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

SHAWANO — After several weeks of careful planning, race tracks around the state are opening up. Shawano Speedway has a practice night scheduled for May 30 before the first week of the season on June 6.

Brad Luepke, the speedway’s marketing and promotions manager, spent about 50 minutes on Facebook Live on Thursday detailing what things would look like on a race night, at least to begin the season. The full video can be found at

The speedway’s grandstands are open to spectators (both on practice night and regular race nights), but fans are to follow social distancing guidelines. Luepke said families or groups that are comfortable being around each other are free to sit near each other, but to sit at least 6 feet away from other groups in the stands.

The raceway’s grandstands seat 3,500 people, so Luepke said there was no reason for people not to be spread out. There is no limit to the amount of fans the speedway can allow in on a night.

Masks are recommended, but not required. Social distancing guidelines are to be followed whether fans are in the stands, bathrooms, food lines, or anywhere else on the race grounds.

A $15 pit pass is available for the practice night, while general admission is free. Prices for race nights will remain the same as in previous years, and can be found at

There are no parking procedure changes.

On practice night, the pit gates will be locked after the races wrap up — in previous years, the pits had remained opened for spectators. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

Practice is set for 5-8 p.m., but will be extended to 3-8 p.m. if the raceway can get an ambulance on site.

The bathrooms and picnic tables on the speedway grounds will be sanitized often throughout race nights. Hand sanitizing stations will be positioned around the grounds.

The food menu will be limited to start the year, which will help food preparers get the food into people’s hands quicker and avoid clustering of people.

Instead of four food windows to order at, there will be two. The other two windows will be used for food pickup.

All food (and condiments) will be placed in styrofoam containers. Luepke urged fans to throw away their containers as soon as they are done eating and not leave trash in the stands.

Another recommendation Luepke mentioned was limiting the amount of human interaction on the grounds — having just one member of a family or group buy tickets or food, instead of having several people do it.

While programs are still available to fans, the souvenir shop is closed. Promotional nights are on hold for now, but many could be canceled or reorganized to meet safety standards.

There were a few changes for the drivers and their pit crews.

Drivers were encouraged to bring their own pens to sign in. Driver’s meetings were eliminated, with the speedway printing out anything drivers need to know on a given night instead.

Pit crews were asked to stay in their pit area, while the food shack that is typically available for the individuals in the pit is closed.

In terms of action on the track, the only big change is that hot laps will be eliminated for the season.

Near the end of the live video, Luepke said the fate of the racing season is now in the hands of fans and drivers. He said to use common sense and respect everyone else’s space.

The practice night will be a test run for drivers, but also for the speedway as it adjusts to all its new guidelines.