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Auto Racing in an Age of Quarantine

Racing

Skip Barber, the owner and operator of Lime Rock Park in Lime Rock, Conn., said he doesn’t anticipate the track holding any major events before Labor Day weekend because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The track has been open already for some small events, such as a private car club on Friday and Saturday, May 22-23. The activities were instructional, not racing.

Barber said the track is following state guidelines for the first phase of reopening businesses, and adding some additional precautions.

There are no meetings, he said, and only one person is allowed in a car at a time.

Moving forward, car clubs must submit detailed information about participants, so that, “We get all the contact tracing information.”

Barber said nobody is allowed in the buildings at the track, except to use the bathroom. Participants must bring their own provisions, as lunch is not being served.

Despite the scaled-down nature of the activities, there is interest in coming to the track, he said.

“There appears to be a pent-up demand to get out and do something.”

And even if some sort of event is held on Labor Day weekend, Barber expects it will be “really restricted,” and likely without any spectators. That is normally the weekend of the Historic Festival, with a vintage car parade through Salisbury, Conn., and Falls Village, Conn., vintage car racing through the weekend and a Concours d’Elegance car show on Sunday.

On Wednesday, June 10, the track held a small event for employees from Lowe’s in Torrington and for the media.

Facilities Supervisor Jocko Jacopino went over the COVID-19 precautions.

He said that visitors have their temperatures taken at the gate. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees F is asked to move off to the side and wait 10 minutes, then get screened again. If that person is still above 100.4, he or she will not be allowed to enter.

So far it hasn’t happened, he added.

Jacopino said that the process of signing waivers has been streamlined, with just two signatures required, making the checking-in process a matter of 35 seconds or so. 

There are hand sanitizing stations throughout the park.

There are signs everywhere, addressing subjects such as maximum people allowed in an open-air shelter as well as more general information about COVID-19.

Every alternating unit, as Jacopino tactfully put it, in the bathroom is marked as “out of order” to prevent crowding.

“We are very mindful” of the guidelines from state and federal authorities, Jacopino said.

“We want to be the gold standard.”

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