BOSWELL — Michael Daugherty, the Lafayette-based owner of the Daugherty Speedway, located near Boswell, wanted to send a message to the state and Gov. Eric Holcomb as he planned to go on with a scheduled race Saturday, May 9.
“We feel the order of the Governor is 100% unconstitutional and a court just upheld this order as of Friday, May 1,” stated a message that was posted to the speedway’s social media. “So we are READY to fight for our constitutional rights. Racetracks were specifically excluded from government assistance, which is what is being utilized as unconstitutional grounds. Grandstands will be open but we will limit the number of fans to ensure social distancing requirements are met. Please, please share this post as we fight for our right to race!! Just an FYI to anyone questioning the law, there has been no LAWS passed regarding this virus. Laws are passed by congress, not governors.”
This resulted in the state issuing its first cease-and-desist letter to a business for not complying with the governor’s executive orders.
According to the governor’s office, their Enforcement Response Team has investigated 1,458 complaints and issued 138 verbal warnings.
“Daugherty Speedway was initially given a verbal warning and did not comply. So, we sent our first cease-and-desist letter,” said Joe Heerens, the governor’s general counsel.
Benton County officials then placed concrete and locked metal barriers around the speedway’s property to make sure the owner complied with the order.
“It really felt like they were trying to bully and intimidate me,” stated Daugherty. “All I want is access to my own property.”
Mike Freeland, President of the Benton County Commissioners, made a statement that the county was just playing it safe.
“We did that to protect the people of Benton County,” stated Freeland. “We couldn’t be sure he was really going to comply.”
Daugherty received the cease-and-desist order on May 8, a day before the scheduled event. He then canceled the event and posted on Facebook that he would send out refunds.
Later that day, he posted a video to his social media showing his entrance blocked along with Benton County Sheriff deputies guarding the property.
Daugherty also posted a video of a protest staged Saturday afternoon at the Benton County Courthouse.