LEXINGTON — The green flag will fly over Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.
The venerable road course will open its gates to spectators for the first time this season for the Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.
The popular event will be modified to adhere to “Responsible Restart Ohio” guidelines amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Fan attendance will be limited and the grandstands will remain closed, but motorhome and tent camping will be permitted.
“Our entire team greatly appreciates the leadership of Governor (Mike) DeWine and Lieutenant Governor (Jon) Husted in responsibly restarting Ohio, as well as the county commissioners and Health Commissioner (Stephanie) Bragg of Morrow County along with Ohio State Representative (Mark) Romanchuk,” Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course president Craig Rust said.
“I know our fans are excited to see live racing again, and we will continue to work closely with our local health officials to ensure the event is handled in a safe manner.”
The Trans Am Series, which is new to the Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio lineup, will make its return after a four-month layoff. The series was last in action at the season-opener March 1 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
“The entire team is excited to get back on the track,” said Ernie Francis Jr., driver of the No. 98 One South Florida Wealth Advisors Ford Mustang. “The last two months have been difficult for everyone and we are all glad that society is starting to open back up. I’ve just been sitting here, staring at my race car, getting ready to get back behind the wheel again.”
Nobody is more excited to race at Mid-Ohio than Francis Jr. The reigning series champ has a six-year Trans Am win streak at Mid-Ohio and won the opener at Sebring.
“We are delighted that our new sponsor, One South Florida Wealth Advisors, is aboard and is also looking forward to Mid-Ohio,” Francis Jr. said.
This weekend will be a homecoming of sorts for Amy Ruman, driver of the No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette. Ruman is an Akron native and Kent State graduate.
“I’m so happy and excited to finally get back to racing, I know I’m not the only one,” said Ruman, who finished on the podium at Sebring. “The Sebring race seems so long ago. I feel like we’re starting a whole new TA season. Hopefully we can continue our podium momentum here at my home track Mid-Ohio.”
Spectators will be subject to a temperature check and health screening upon entry to Mid-Ohio. Fans should visit midohio.com/COVID19 for more information.