SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — When Seekonk Speedway owner David Alburn got the call from Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, he was in shock.
“I was in the garage working on something, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” he recalled. “I was filthy with stuff all over me, and I never take a FaceTime call at all.”
Portnoy told Alburn that Seekonk Speedway was selected to receive financial support, courtesy of the Barstool Fund, which has raised millions of dollars for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Seekonk Speedway was supposed to be celebrating its 75th year of racing this past summer, but COVID-19 forced Alburn to close the gates.
Seekonk Speedway only hosted 10 races in 2020, which fans were not allowed to attend per state guidelines.
“I don’t know how you can run a raceway without fans,” Portnoy told Alburn. “We want to make sure you get the funds you need … so until you guys can get back to putting people in the stands, we will be there for you.”
After learning more about the Barstool Fund, Alburn decided to take a chance and apply. It was a chance that ultimately paid off.
“This is a great surprise,” Alburn said. “I was hoping I was going to get the opportunity.”
Alburn said with the help of the Barstool Fund, he’s hopeful the 2021 season will be much more memorable.
Seekonk Speedway isn’t the only Massachusetts business to be selected. A handful of restaurants and other businesses from the Bay State have also received a call from Portnoy.