Kansas Speedway offering vaccines, opportunity to drive on racetrack Saturday

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — If you haven’t yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, Kansas Speedway is adding some extra motivation.

In the “Race to End COVID-19,” track officials in conjunction with the Unified Government, University of Kansas Health System, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Kansas Division of Emergency Management are letting anyone who gets a vaccine or gets tested out on the track to run a couple laps in their own vehicle.

For a while, many people were racing to get COVID-19 vaccines.

“We had so much early demand in January and February, and we’ve seen demand for vaccinations drop off for a whole bunch of reasons,” said Dr. Allen Greiner, chief health officer for Wyandotte County.

“I work full time, and I go to school full time, so finding the free time to go ahead and get vaccinated is really difficult,” Pyrindaria said.

But a chance to drive the same track as NASCAR drivers proved the perfect motivation for some people as the two-day mass vaccination and testing event kicked off Friday evening.

 “I think it’s perfect for somebody like me. I honestly didn’t want to do it,” Macario Deando said.

Before facing their fears of the shot, they had to face the track.

“I’m a little nervous. I’m a little excited. I’m a little bit of all of it right now,” Joe Conejo said.

Everyone has to follow the pace car.

“A lot of times people think people are going to come out here and drive crazy. Actually the opposite is true. They get out there on that banking, and they get a little scared if they’ve never been on it before,” said Darren Cook, vice president of operations at Kansas Speedway.

After a couple of laps, a COVID vaccine or test awaits drivers at the finish line, with a goal of finally putting a finish to the pandemic.

“That’s what this all about, getting back to normal,” Cook said.

Kansas Speedway will once again be open to drivers who get tested or vaccinated Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will offer both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

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