Crowd sizes are starting to return to normal at the Magic Valley Speedway.
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The Magic Valley Speedway’s season is off to a fast start, but last year it was a little tough for drivers, and even the announcers, with the stands nearly empty due to COVID.
This weekend the speedway hosted a full slate of races, and the stands were packed full of fans enthused to watch the competition and cheer on the drivers. Speedway announcers DJ Everett and Jenn Gray told KMVT that wasn’t the case a year ago, as attendance was down nearly 50 percent due to COVID
“The crowds make a huge difference. It is what drives the adrenaline here for us, and the drivers as well,” Everett said.
He also said the number of drivers competing in races was down 25 percent a year ago.
“They didn’t feel the energy. They didn’t feel the drive to come out either. The COVID stuff played mind games with the drivers you could say,” Everett said.
But that wasn’t the case Saturday night, as seventeen-year-old Cecil Miles of Gooding competed against a group of drivers and won the mini stock car competition in the #79 car, with a nearly packed crowd of spectators cheering on his win.
“When you get to compete in front of people it makes you feel like what you are doing matters, and you are not just doing it,” Miles said,
Mini stock car racer Mike Audet said it also feels good to be able to talk to opposing drivers again and help them with their cars. Covid and social distancing prevented them from getting in close contact with each other last year
“We would rather beat people on the track than off the track, so we help them get their cars running then beat them on the track,” Audet said.
The race season at the Magic Valley Speedway runs through the end of September, and with more people getting vaccinated and COVID cases falling throughout the Gem State, Gray hopes to see even more fans in the stands and drivers on the track, as the season continues.
“I go down and do all the victory lane interviews, and feeding off the crowd is the biggest thing. The bigger the crowd the more energy you can just get off of them,” Gray said.
Copyright 2021 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.