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Buffie Frye/Ona Speedway

2019 Ona Speedway track champion Jeremy Cooper races down the backstretch in his Modified. 

ONA — Ona Speedway will return to racing May 23 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Races will be run without fans in the stands, however, as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus.

Drivers, crew members and essential track personnel will be permitted on the grounds, but through a partnership with Kindred Communications, the race will be available to watch free of charge for fans on the Ona Speedway Facebook page and Kindred’s social media outlets.

West Virginia’s only asphalt short track will begin the season with the Yes Chevrolet & Yes Ford Cabin Fever Bash.

Eight divisions will make up the racing card on opening day with Late Models, Modifieds, Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Classic Cars, Legends Cars, U Cars, and Crazy Compacts. Racing action will start at 4 p.m. as each class will run a feature race. Strict social distancing rules will be in place and enforced to ensure the safety of the race teams and track personnel.

“The race is called the ‘Cabin Fever Bash’ as the track wanted to find a way to put on a race that would give race teams a chance to race and fans a chance to watch some racing via online streaming after what has been an extended offseason,” said Ona Speedway public relations director T.J. Layne in a news release.

With no spectators, however, track officials have become creative in financing the races.

“In order to make the event work financially, the track has offered sponsorship, crowd funding options, and entry fee payback for the race purse,” Layne said in the release. “Local businesses and individuals have enthusiastically jumped on board with this to create a way to fund the race purses.”

Layne said following the initial day of racing, the track is tentatively not planning another event until June 13.

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