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More than 4,000 maskless fans pack the stands at a North Carolina raceway

Thousands of racing fans packed the stands of a North Carolina speedway over the weekend, with masks and social distancing measures both seemingly in short supply.

The alarming scenes at Ace Speedway, in Alamance County, came just 24 hours after Sheriff Terry Johnson said he would not interfere with the event, calling Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home orders ‘unconstitutional’.

As many as 4,000 people were believed to have attended the event on Saturday, and some 2,500 the night before. Ace Speedway co-owner Jason Turner said social distancing was recommended by organizers but was not enforced.

He also said very few patrons appeared to be wearing facemasks or any other kind of personal protective equipment.

‘Not a lot of people showed up with masks on. A lot of people are ready to get back to normal. We spoke and the racing community answered,’ Turner told WXII.

As many as 4,000 people were believed to have attended the event at Ace Speedway, Alamance County, on Saturday, and some 2,500 the night before

Ace Speedway co-owner Jason Turner said social distancing was recommended by organizers but was not enforced

Ace Speedway co-owner Jason Turner said social distancing was recommended by organizers but was not enforced

Very few patrons appeared to be wearing facemasks or any other kind of personal protective equipment

Very few patrons appeared to be wearing facemasks or any other kind of personal protective equipment

The raceway owner added that fans consented to being around others – in violation of social distancing guidelines – when they decided to buy a ticket.

‘People have the right to choose where they go and what they do. As we reopen, people are trying to have a sense of normalcy and when somebody physically buys a ticket, a general admission ticket, to come to a race, they are in a sense saying that they want to be there… and they got what they paid for,’ he continued.

Sheriff Terry Johnson (above) said he would not interfere with the event, calling Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home orders ‘unconstitutional’

Sheriff Terry Johnson (above) said he would not interfere with the event, calling Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home orders ‘unconstitutional’

Just one day before Friday’s race, North Carolina entered phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan – which recommends no more than 25 people at any outdoor gathering. However, Sheriff Johnson said his department would not enforce the order because it didn’t make specific mention to race tracks.

‘When I took my oath of office, I swore to uphold the United States Constitution. I will not enforce an unconstitutional law. Upon hearing the opinion of the County Attorney, I do not intend to stop ACE Speedway from opening on Saturday, May 23,’ Johnson wrote in a statement.

Alamance County officials said ACE Speedway had been in touch with the Alamance County Department of Public Health to implement ‘several precautions’, which included putting up glass barriers on ticket booths and concession stands, supplying hand sanitizer all around the venue, and providing voluntary lists for fans to write down personal information to facilitate contact tracing.

The race became one of the first sporting events of any kind to take place in the state that was open to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt more than two months ago.

North Carolina has since suffered 737 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, and currently has nearly 23,000 confirmed cases.

The race became one of the first sporting events of any kind to take place in the state that was open to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt more than two months ago

The race became one of the first sporting events of any kind to take place in the state that was open to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt more than two months ago

North Carolina has suffered 737 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, and currently has nearly 23,000 confirmed cases

North Carolina has suffered 737 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday, and currently has nearly 23,000 confirmed cases

Alamance County officials said ACE Speedway had been in touch with the Alamance County Department of Public Health to implement 'several precautions'

Alamance County officials said ACE Speedway had been in touch with the Alamance County Department of Public Health to implement ‘several precautions’

Just one day before Friday’s race, North Carolina entered phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan – which recommends no more than 25 people at any outdoor gathering (pictured: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

Just one day before Friday’s race, North Carolina entered phase two of its coronavirus reopening plan – which recommends no more than 25 people at any outdoor gathering (pictured: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

But dozens of patrons, many of whom travelled from out-of-state to attend the event, said they’re refusing to live in fear.

‘We are out here because we are tired of being stuck in the house. We are not afraid of the virus one bit,’ one fan told ABC11.

Ernest ‘Smokey’ Bare, who has worked at the track for over 10 years, told the Salem Journal: ‘It’s been years since we’ve had a line like this one … I’m not (concerned about the virus). Not with my mask on, I’m not,” he said. “But I’m wearing this mask for me and for the fans.’

Patron Brad Flint, meanwhile, said though he was wearing a mask he ‘would’ve like to see more people wearing theirs,’ according to FOX8.

On Sunday, Ace Speedway thanked attendees for their turnout this weekend, ensuring fans that they will clean and sanitize the facility as it moves forward with the 2020 Season.

‘We’re really at a loss for words,’ the speedway wrote on its Facebook page. ‘Thank you to all who attended our 2020 Season Opener on Saturday Night. We enjoyed having each and every one of you in attendance to watch some great local short track racing.

‘We look forward to seeing you all next Friday Night!’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk