Bill Lupinos wasn't surprised by the reaction he got from his wife.

"Of course, she said that I was nuts," he said with a laugh.

Lupinos, though, wasn't joking.

The owner of the Richmond Raceway wanted to explore the possibility of re-opening his track, even if it meant not being allowed to have fans in the stands.

It took a considerable amount of effort — and lots of help from lots of elected officials — but racing is set to return the Madison County facility this weekend.

The Richmond Raceway will play host to action in four divisions on Saturday night.

No spectators will be allowed in the grandstand or pit areas and strict guidelines will have to be followed by drivers and race crews.

The races — which are believed to be the first live sporting events in Kentucky in more than two months — can be viewed on a pay-per-view basis.

Qualifying is set to begin at 6 p.m.

Lupinos announced the race card on Monday and he was immediately inundated with drivers who were interested.

"My phone and my son's phone have been blowing up," Lupinos said.

The event will feature action in the most popular divisions of racing at the Richmond Raceway — Sonic Super Late Models ($1,500), Eagle Financial UMP Modifieds ($1,000), ARBodies KDRA Super Stocks ($750) and Chapter One Reality Group 4-Cylinders ($500).

Due to the social distancing restricting brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, the fields in each race are limited.

Lupinos sent out invitations to drivers based on the final points standings from each division last year.

"We are inviting the people who supported us," Lupinos said.

It took a lot of support for Lupinos to put the event together.

One of the first people he approached for help was a friend — Bill Wesley. The U.S. Marine veteran and pastor, who is running for the state representative in the 91st District, was eager to do what he could to get the track back open.

"I know he has a passion for the county and for racing," Wesley said of Lupinos. "We just tried to do everything would could to encourage him. He's been trying to do everything by the guidelines."

Wesley got Lupinos in touch with State Representative Deanna Frazier and other elected officials in the area.

The racetrack owner had to prepare a plan to be sent to Governor Andy Beshear's office.

Much to his surprise, Lupinos found out he was the first to submit this kind of proposal.

"They told me they had not heard from any other dirt tracks. We were the first ones to venture down that road," Lupinos said.

That wasn't the end of the road.

The plan still needed approval from the Madison County Health Department and Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor.

"He also signed off on it," Lupinos said of Taylor. "Everyone is on the same page."

Lupinos got approval to hold an event without fans — but under some very stringent regulations.

There will be no concessions stands. Security will be in place at all entrances to make sure fans do not get into the track or watch from behind the fencing.

The entire facility will be thoroughly sanitized prior to the race.

Only drivers and four members of their crew are allowed in the pit area — and everyone's temperature will be recorded before entering. Anyone with a reading over 100.4 will not be allowed onto the property.

Pit stall for the cars will be 8-feet apart and everyone will be required to wear a mask.

Staff of the track are required to wear masks and gloves.

"We are just going to follow all the guidelines we've been given," Lupinos said.

Fans can watch the racing live for $19.95 at, but Lupinos says he doesn't expect to make a profit off the event.

For the owner, it's not about money.

It's about trying to take another step back toward normalcy.

"We've already lost opening night and the World of Outlaws event — which would have been the biggest show this track had ever seen," Lupinos said. "We were supposed to have the Southern All-Stars here last weekend. We should be six weeks into our season. It's time to get going."

Wesley agrees.

"People are depending on getting things back open — and this is one of them," the state representative candidate said.

The Richmond Raceway normally has racing on most Saturdays throughout the summer.

Moving forward, Lupinois doesn't know what the future holds.

The owner would be open to having more races without fans, but he is taking a wait-and-see-approach.

"We are planning on just this one event and see how things go and watch what's going on with COVID-19 and go from there," Lupinos said. "I can't say what the next step is."

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