Ethan Sears, Indianapolis Star
Published 7:35 p.m. ET May 11, 2020 | Updated 10:44 a.m. ET May 12, 2020
Doug Boles, President of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, talks about the Brickyard 400 weekend ahead, Speedway, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.
The gates were going to open, the flag was going to drop, and then the concrete barriers went up.
Michael Daugherty, a racetrack owner in Boswell, Indiana, planned to run an event last Saturday with fans in attendance, defying Gov. Eric Holcomb’s statewide order, which does not permit auto racing due to concerns about the novel coronavirus. When asked by state officials to halt the event, Daugherty initially refused, having sold tickets.
“I basically told them that, why can’t we operate when we’re an outdoor facility and we’re safer than cooping 1,000 people up in a WalMart or Home Depot,” Daugherty said. “We feel our social distancing measures would be safer than the big box stores.”
On Friday, though, the state took matters into its own hands. Daugherty was served with a cease-and-desist order. The road leading to his property was barricaded.
A lack of compliance with the order could have led to Daugherty Speedway being forcibly closed, up to 180 days in prison and a fine of $1,000. The race was canceled. Per the speedway’s Facebook page, ticket buyers have received refunds.
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