WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)- Wausau 525 track owner/president Ralph Merwin says their scheduled races on May 30-31 will likely be postponed. They hope to reschedule it in July, and have races on back to back weekends, but that is far from concrete.
The Wausau 525 track in Wausau, Wisconsin, on May 3, 2020. (WSAW)
Race track owners are prepared for almost anything, but Merwin says there's no playbook for this.
"We always look at a rain situation or weather for an event that could slow it down or postpone it, but this is unprecedented,” Merwin said. “Where the whole country basically is on a shutdown.”
“So all we can do is hope for the best, and get this thing behind us. And put a race on and sporting events that are safe for everyone to come to."
Many bigger sports leagues including NASCAR have either discussed or planned to hold events without fans when it's safe to do so.
That's not a feasible option for the 525.
“That would not work here,” said Merwin. “We're based on fans, sponsorship, and ridership, and they all have to come together to support the cost of this event.”
“So we would not entertain the thought of going with the race only with no fans. That would be difficult at best, and we don't have a TV situation. So we need the fan base to make this all work."
Merwin is well aware of the possibility that the 525 could go the entire calendar year without hosting a race, a scenario that might doom many local racetracks across the country and state.
But he says the 525 will survive long term.
"Financially we don't carry a mortgage here,” Merwin said. “It's a privately owned situation, and we're set to make it through the storm.
“If we're cast out this year, so be it. We really want to get our snowmobile race in this coming January, and hopefully get our motorcycle races in this summer. But if the storm keeps coming, we're going to ride it out."