Harry Daviess, a spokesman for the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, says the 29th annual Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals will be held starting Friday, with a multitude of precautions in place due to COVID-19.
“We’re asking our participants and our spectator attendees to bring a personalized, alcohol-based sanitizer,” Daviess says. “We will have many hand washing stations throughout the facility to keep everybody safe. You can bring and wear a mask.”
Masks are optional on the 1,600 acres of outdoor space, but masks are mandatory if you enter any of the buildings. Thousands of shiny vehicles will be lined up for spectators to admire, including hot rods, trick trucks and muscle cars. Part of the allure of attending the show is chatting with the owners about how they restored the vehicles, and he says the pandemic won’t be able to quash those interactions.
“Everybody that’s attending the event, they have a personal responsibility and that responsibility is to stay social distanced,” Daviess says. “You can still talk with somebody and have a conversation about their vehicle from six feet away. We’re not asking people to do anything differently from what they’re doing in the community today.”
Attendance over the three-day event has reached 50,000 in past years, though the number of show cars on display this year may be somewhat reduced.
“We’ve had as many as 4,500 to 5,000 cars and yeah, we’re expecting a slight decrease in attendance just because some people aren’t ready to travel yet, they’re not ready to drive their car 1,000 miles from out of state,” Daviess says. “It’s hard to tell until we do the actual event.”
Many of the traditional features are still planned, including the vendor midway, swap meet, model and pedal car displays, and the fireworks show, as well as Autocross racing events. Daviess says online ticket sales are discounted for advance sales. The Heartland Nationals run through Sunday.