TULSA, Okla. — Seeking to put a two-and-a-half-month layoff in the rearview mirror, two-time United States Auto Club champion Brady Bacon is spearheading the effort to get USAC back on the track.
Bacon and his wife, Xia Xianna, are promoting the May 22-23 T-Town Midget Showdown at the eighth-mile Port City Raceway, the first time they’ve worked to put on a race, much less one of this magnitude.
It will be a two-day affair, featuring both USAC national midgets and outlaw non-winged micros. Originally scheduled for May 15-16, the event was moved back one week in conjunction with the postponements of USAC’s traditional Indy 500 week events.
The first Port City appearance by the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series also marks the first series race since the Shamrock Classic in DuQuoin, Ill., in early March — one of the final races in the U.S. that went off without a hitch before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a halt.
For Bacon and other racers across the country, it has been a game of waiting to see when they can all get back to the track and do what they love again.
“Unfortunately, all this waiting was about all we could do,” explained Bacon. “We had to wait for the governments of each state to make their decisions. And it wasn’t just Oklahoma that we had to wait on. We had to pretty much confirm that nothing could happen in Indiana, necessarily, for us to move the date back a week like we’ve done. So waiting was the name of the game, for a while at least.”
After waiting it out, Bacon and those helping with the event went to work within the limits that the current global health situation gave them, all while still trying to stage “as normal a race as possible,” he noted.
“Once we thought we had our window, a lot of these regulations and stipulations that are in effect aren’t necessarily black and white spelled out … so that was another challenge we had, was deciding on what we thought would be acceptable,” Bacon said. “There’s not really a handbook for this situation. Even the state and local governments are kind of just going at this one step at a time, just like we are.
“It was just a lot of guessing, basically, on what would be acceptable and what we felt still conformed to their guidelines while still being able to make the numbers work and have as profitable a race and as normal of a feel as we could,” he added. “That’s another reason why we moved it back, was to get a better feel for what the state’s temperature was on things and to potentially let some other races happen. That way we could make sure there were no issues that we weren’t already thinking about. But I think we’ve got them all covered.
“Mike and Megan (Eubanks) at Port City have a good relationship with the county and the Sheriff’s Department, so we feel pretty confident about having a good, safe and successful race for everyone involved.”
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