Wolf: Pocono Raceway may open in yellow

Sprint car drivers Mallie Schuster (49), Blane Heimbach (12) and Chad Layton (35) race into the third turn at Selinsgrove Speedway during a 2019 race. With regard to Selinsgrove Speedway, state congressman Fred Keller questioned Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that NASCAR can hold races at Pocono Raceway in late June if the coronavirus situation improves in that area.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that NASCAR can hold its races at Pocono Raceway in late June if the coronavirus situation improves in the area, though the races might have to go off without fans.

Pocono Raceway is in Monroe County, which currently is under Wolf's strictest pandemic orders, or a red designation. Wolf said that if Monroe County moves to yellow before the races, then NASCAR may hold the two races as long as there are no spectators present and guidelines are followed to keep competitors safe.

Congressman Fred Keller questioned Wolf's announcement later Monday. Selinsgrove Speedway, which is in the already-yellow Snyder County, was scheduled to host a race May 16, but the governor forced the race to be canceled, saying racetracks were considered entertainment and could not open until the green phase.

“Once again, Gov. Wolf has shown his business shutdown order is inconsistent and heavy-handed. I’m glad that Pocono Raceway will be permitted to race once Monroe County enters the Yellow Phase, but how is Selinsgrove Speedway or any other raceway different? By having different standards for the same form of entertainment, Gov. Wolf is picking winners and losers and proving he lacks a cogent plan to re-open Pennsylvania,” Keller said.

“This kind of behavior is irresponsible, does further harm to Pennsylvania’s economy, and raises more questions than answers. Given today’s announcement, I call on Gov. Wolf to provide parity in raceway and speedway reopening standards and safely and swiftly move to reopen all sectors of Pennsylvania’s economy.”

Wolf on Friday said he had told NASCAR officials that his state wasn't ready to make a decision on the reopening of Pocono Raceway, which is scheduled to host races June 27 and 28.

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