November '20

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78 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 "The procedures were largely very warmly received by participants and spectators, and a great deal of respect for the global situa- tion has been shown overall," says Jabaay. Driver participation, he reports, is largely unchanged from previous years, while vendor/partner numbers are down somewhat, "but slowly coming back to pre-COVID levels." Plus, there are lessons to be learned from this year's unusual circumstances. "Be flexible and prepared for the worst- case scenario," he suggests. Gridlife expects to be back in 2021, Jabaay adds, with events scheduled from coast to coast. EAST COAST DIESEL NATIONALS Asked about a successful racing event that took place in the summer of '20, Ron Knoch, president of DIESEL Motorsports, pointed to the East Coast Diesel Nationals, held in July at Numidia Dragway in Penn- sylvania. Activities included pickup drag racing and sled-pulling, as well as dyno and show-and-shine competitions. Knoch, a columnist for THE SHOP, esti- mates 3,000-4,000 people showed up, along with eight vendors in the midway. "Attendance was much higher than we expected," he says. "We had more spec- tators than the previous year, and more competitors than the previous year who put on a great show for those who attended." Knoch explains that track representatives worked with county officials on safety pro- cedures and guidelines to allow the event to go on as scheduled. Numidia Dragway had held previous events this year using social distancing practices with no pandemic- related setbacks, he added. "DIESEL Motorsports, along with the track owner, decided to proceed because of the popularity of the event and the type of people who attend," Knoch states. "The only reason to cancel was if local county officials would not let the track have spec- tators—that would have been the deal- breaker. Fans line up and down both sides of the track at this event with their own vehicles, pop-ups and lawn chairs, which makes social distancing possible." Safety measures included only two people at a time in the restrooms, only two windows per concession stand with a 6-foot distance between customers, and grandstand distancing of 6 feet. Fans were allowed to bring their own refresh- ments, lawn chairs, pop-ups and trailers for viewing. The day was a success. "DIESEL Motorsports and track officials were thanked throughout the event for opening it up and holding the competitions," Knoch says. "People who had been inside for months badly needed to get out and enjoy themselves. It seems people who had not been out to the track in years came back because no other entertainment was available." Prior to the event, DIESEL Motors- ports focused on social media and other avenues to reach potential attendees who had mainly been staying home since the pandemic started in the spring. Next year, Knoch notes, more of an emphasis will be placed on working with local clubs and groups that can connect the organization with new enthusiasts. THE SHOWS GO ON The DIESEL Motorsports East Coast Diesel Nationals were held in July at Numidia Dragway in Pennsylvania. Activities included pickup drag racing and sled-pulling, as well as dyno and show-and-shine competitions. (Photos courtesy DIESEL Motorsports) People who had been inside for months wanted to get out and enjoy themselves. (Photo courtesy DIESEL Motorsports)

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