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'I'm not asking, I'm opening': Ohio racetrack owner vows to reopen despite government dictates

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'We are starving'

(Chris Williams /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

The owner of an Ohio racetrack announced this week that whether state officials approve or not, he will reopen for the 2020 season despite government dictates to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

During a Facebook live video explaining his decision, Bill Bader Jr. said, "I'm not asking, I'm opening."

What are the details?

Bader, who owns Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, says if he doesn't open he will lose the business his family has owned since 1974 — leaving job losses in its wake.

The businessman mentioned that he noticed a message on a friend's social media feed on Wednesday that read: "Small business owners: Government will not save you. Open up and save yourselves." Bader told his own followers, "I think that's where we're at."

He added, "We are starving."

Bader has stopped taking a paycheck himself, and has had to lay off all but three of his 26 full-time employees. The track also typically hires another 430 event staff.

"The hardest day of my life was several weeks ago on Friday when I had to basically lay off the whole company," Bader said, according to CNN. "That was an incredibly painful day that I think about often and haunts me."

The owner told WKYC-TV, "This isn't a situation where I'm a greedy capitalist that's trying to make more money. I'm simply trying to survive."

Bader hopes to begin adding events to the calendar in the next week, and says he can still safely allow around 6,000 spectators into the 30,000-seat stadium while putting social distancing measures in place.

Summit Motorsports Park says they're opening for the 2020 season no matter what www.youtube.com

"Please understand something, and hear me when I say this," Bader said on Facebook: "I'm not asking, I'm opening."

He explained, "As I sit here at this desk, I am being asked to sit here and — slowly, daily, hourly, and by the minute — I'm being asked to slowly die, and I don't do that well. I am not going to sit passively by and watch my family's hard work go down the drain at the hands of a machine I don't even understand."

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