FLORENCE, S.C. — Charlie Powell planned for the 2020 Florence Motor Speedway season to start on time this weekend.

Plans continually change because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, and earlier this week Powell decided to suspend all racing for the foreseeable future.

“It was necessary, I think,” said Powell, who owns the track. “We had to do what we believe is best for everybody.”

Powell said the decision came after monitoring things through the weekend and taking into account what precautions were being made at the federal and state levels in regard to public gatherings.

“We want to do what they think is necessary and is best,” Powell said. “I think the governor announced that no more than three people in a group need to gather. So right now, we’re not using the facility.”

FMS was supposed to open its season Friday and Saturday with more races scheduled for April 11 and April 25.

As of right now, Powell is unsure when they will be able to wave the checkered flag again.

“I’ll just have to think about it and see how things go in the next few weeks,” he said. “It’s just something I’ve never been through like the rest of us. I’ve had hurricanes and you went through that and could see them happening and you could see the progress of getting ready to go again.

“With this, the hardest thing, I think, is just not knowing.”

The economic impact of keeping the track closed is something Powell will have to contend with as well.

“Our income is 100% based on attendance,” he said. “It’s all based on race fans coming in and enjoying the track and the racing. I’m sure there are other people in the same category.

“It’s just something that we all have to get through together.”

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