It’s back to reality for The Greatest Show on Dirt.
The World of Outlaws announced on Tuesday a “Return to Racing” at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway on May 8.
The invitational-only event is being promoted as “Behind Closed Doors” because the race will be run without fans in the stands.
The WoO Nos Energy Drink Sprint Car Series kicks off at the Sprint Car Capital of the World—Knoxville—with the WoO Morton Buildings Late Model Series returning to action the following week, May 15, at Boone (Iowa) Speedway.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working diligently with partner tracks and city, county, and state government officials across the country to be prepared for our Return to Racing,” said Brian Carter, Chief Executive Officer for the WoO.
“We will follow a strict set of guidelines that exceed local requirements, including social distancing, utilization of every other pit stall, health screening, hand washing stations and the distribution of masks and bottles of hand sanitizer to everyone in attendance.”
WoO is expecting 48-car fields for both races with $10,000 for the winners. A full purse along with full points will be awarded to the drivers.
“While racing without fans will be hard for all of us, these events at Knoxville Raceway and Boone Speedway mark an important step in getting the country back on track," said John McCoy, Knoxville Raceway Race Director and Promoter. "Governor Reynolds, along with our City and Marion County officials have been key in making that happen.”
The sprint car roster will be comprised of the top 18 drivers from the last two Outlaws seasons and last year’s top 18 from Knoxville Speedway. The Late Model field will feature last year’s top 18 drivers from both DIRTcar Late Model National and DIRTcar Summer Nationals point standings. The balance of the field will be rounded out by WoO Promoter’s Choice, iRacing DIRTVision standings and the current 2020 point standings.
DIRTVision will televise the races starting with hot laps at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by qualifying and racing.
Logan Schuchart, who won his first iRacing event at virtual Eldora Speedway on Tuesday night, is thrilled to return to actual competition.
“I’m pumped to get back in a real race car,” Schuchart said. “It’s been too long for all of us—drivers, fans, sponsors, everybody. We’re not out of the water yet. But it’s good to see some race cars are going to be back on the race track.
“Thanks to everybody that has put iRacing on TV--CBS, FS1 and Dirtvision for all they’ve done. It’s great for the coverage.”
Outlaws champion Brad Sweet, who won the 2018 Knoxville Nationals, is ready to defend his series title.
“I’m very excited to get back to the race track with the NAPA Auto Parts car,” said Sweet, who finished third in Tuesday night's iRacing feature. “It’s been a tough couple of months for everybody. We will definitely miss the fans. However, I am happy that the World of Outlaws are taking this very seriously and have very strict guidelines.
“Hopefully, this is the first step to getting back to some normalcy—not only for us—but all sports across the country.”