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Florence Speedway gets the green flag to resume racing, thanks to Boone County judge's order

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 15:49:37-04

UNION, Ky. — The Florence Speedway, and other businesses, filed suit in a Boone County Court, arguing they should be able to open at 50% capacity. A judge’s ruling has given the speedway the green flag to start racing once again.

That suit was the spearhead for statewide change on Gov. Andy Beshear’s order. In two weeks, every industry will be open for debate.

Beshear ordered the track closed in March. Since then, the owner of the Florence Speedway has been trying to get a straight answer from the governor’s office.

“No kind of feedback,” speedway announcer Brad Greer said. “When your back is against the wall for a family business is at stake there. You fire back.”

Greer has been on the job for 33 years, since 1988. He’s known by the yellow shirt he wears in the infield, and his trademark line: "We’ve got a problem."

“That came out in early April,” Greer said. “I realized, we’re not going racing. We may have a problem here.”

The speedway’s attorney, Chris Wiest, said the judge’s decision to allow racing back at the track came just in time.

“Florence Speedway literally was losing their season, Wiest said. “They were looking at a bankruptcy filing next week if they didn’t win this today.”

Wiest’s argument was that if a place like the Florence Y’all’s stadium can be open at 50% capacity, why can’t his clients?

“We litigated this on ‘wait a minute, you’re allowing these activities to occur in the exact same settings, and not here,’” Wiest said. “It’s arbitrary.”

A Boone County judge agreed and offered a temporary restraining order – allowing the speedway to return to action. They’re getting a boost from the Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, who, on Tuesday, filed a motion to join the ongoing suit.

Andy Beshear’s office released this statement:

"The attorney general's position is reckless and threatens the lives of thousands of Kentuckians. At a time when the coronavirus is surging in states to our south, some of which have seen 9,000 cases in a day, the attorney general would remove the necessary powers to respond to such a surge. Those powers are currently being used by the governors of Texas, Florida and other states."

For Wiest, the next time he’s in court on the matter could bring statewide changes.

“Two weeks from now it’ll be the entire industries that are represented,” he said. “Frankly, probably even more than that.”

As the Florence Speedway prepares to open for racing on Thursday, they know they’re still on a caution before they can see a checkered flag.

“We’re not looking to poke anyone’s eye out,” Greer said. “We’re looking to be a good citizens -- good partner(s) with the governor, but we have a family business to run. The Florence Speedway doesn’t have a business model to operate without fans. We’re entertainment.”

For more ticket sales and other information, visit the Florence Speedway’s website.