Speedway Postpones Awards Banquet Amid COVID-19 Concerns
Cadillac, MI (Wednesday, November 25, 2020) - One of the few locations in the state of Michigan, or the Great Lakes region for that matter, to produce entire seasons of racing were Merritt Speedway in Lake City, and Tri City Motor Speedway in Auburn. In addition to the tracks, Owner/Promoter Michael Blackmer also successfully completed the first season with the Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series - a 10 race, two-track series paying $10,000 to win. Because of the success of the year, it seems only fitting to end the season with an awards banquet. That event, however, is proving tough to organize during a global pandemic.
Originally scheduled for Saturday, January 9th at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resorts in Mt. Pleasant, Blackmer announced Friday that the 2020 Awards Banquet would be postponed amid growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s just too close,” Blackmer said of the upcoming original banquet date. “I have a feeling this shutdown could last a little bit longer,” said Blackmer, who also acknowledged that some race fans may not feel comfortable attending an indoor banquet right now.
“We do still have a lot of people who are still worried about the COVID - and I don’t blame you,” Blackmer continued.
The announcement of the banquet postponement comes on the heels of information released that Blackmer himself had a bout with the novel coronavirus. Confirming the news during his Facebook Live video, Blackmer said the virus is nothing to mess around with.
“As I’m sure you’ve all heard, or seen, I had COVID,” confessed Blackmer, who believes he contracted the virus from his Cadillac area bowling alley, The Pines Sports Bar & Bowling Alley. “It was not a fun experience, so I recommend you all stay safe,” he said.
Blackmer also shared his thoughts on how it appears the virus is easier to contract in an indoor setting - a characteristic of most viruses the Centers for Desease Control and Prevention has confirmed - referencing his two full seasons of racing outdoors this summer with no outbreaks.
The 2020 Awards Banquet won’t fall completely to the wayside though. During the video, Blackmer announced a new date of Saturday, March 13th, but said the date now will serve as more of a unique party, rather than a banquet.
“It’s going to be a banquet/meet and greet party,” said Blackmer. “It’s going to be a St. Patty’s Party theme. It’s going to be a big party,” he finished.
After the announcement to postpone the Awards Banquet, Blackmer defended his decision to still attempt to host the awards ceremony. He said that he believes his Track Champions need to be honored and recognized for a job well done. Plus, Blackmer wants to ensure they celebrate the inaugural Challenge Series season and champion, Travis Stemler.
For information on Merritt Speedway, log onto www.merrittspeedwaymi.com and search Merritt Speedway on Facebook.
Keep up with Tri City Motor Speedway at www.tricityracetrack.com and find them on Facebook.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Rand Thompson