Stockton 99 Speedway is on track to resume its race schedule on Sunday, though it is not open to the public.
Tony Nocetti, CEO of Nocetti Group Inc. and 99 Speedway promoter, said he received the go-ahead to prepare for the event after the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday, May 19.
“It’s time to get racing started in Stockton and California,” Nocetti said.
He estimated that about 75 drivers have entered the multi-division card. The Stockton Late Models, Bombers and B4s are competing for track points. There will be a separate feature combining Late Models entries from All-American (Roseville) and Madera speedways. Legends of the Pacific is also included.
The general admission gate may be closed but fans can still watch via pay-per-view on SpeedShift TV. Racing begins at 1 p.m.
There are of course safety precautions implemented with respect to COVID-19. Drivers and crew members are required to sign waiver/release forms, members of the same team must arrive in the same vehicle and will have their temperatures taken while checking in. Hand sanitizers will be available in the most heavily-trafficked areas on the track, though teams are required to supply their own disinfectants in their pit stalls.
The grandstands won’t be completely empty — it will be open for race teams that purchase a pit pass and is large enough for social distancing to be practiced.
While much of the details have been rolling out in recent days, this has been weeks in the making.
“We’ve been working real hard with the county and governor’s office,” Nocetti said. “We’ve been processing this for over four weeks, microscoping what is going on throughout the 58 counties in the state of California and watching the progression and decline of the virus.
“We appreciate Governor (Gavin) Newsom’s stay-at-home order, but we’re ready to move forward,” Nocetti added.
This will only be the second racing event hosted by 99 Speedway this season. The quarter-mile track was able to launch its season opener on Feb. 1, but the next two were called off because of inclement weather prior to the statewide shelter-in-place order.
Stockton 99 isn’t the first track to reopen since the shutdown. Marysville Raceway, for example, returned to action on May 9 without fans.
Nocetti is hopeful that fans will be allowed for his next event scheduled for June 6, the SPEARS SRL JM Environmental Wildwest Shootout. He is looking to move other events that he promotes to 99 Speedway, such as the West Coast Summer Nationals Tractor Pulls and San Joaquin AgFest. Both events typically take place at San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, which remains closed by the state.
“Folks just want to go out and have a little fun,” Nocetti said. “With rules and restrictions in place, we are ready to do business right now.”