(Some photos in video courtesy of Nick Woolley\www.15belowhoto.com)
BOONE, Iowa -- A race promoter for the Boone Speedway allegedly threatened to indefinitely ban fans in wheelchairs if they didn't move to the designated handicapped area. However, fans say the original area they were told to sit in, is the one they are being kicked out of .
Witnesses say race promoter, Robert Lawton, belittled and cursed at about a dozen people while asking them to move at the Boone Speedway Nationals Championships on Saturday. Lawton claimed the wheelchairs are a fire code hazard because they block the aisle.
Hanah Phillips uses a wheelchair and is a season ticket holder. The 13-year-old said her seat does not block the aisle and has never been an issue before.
"We were like, 'that’s not right.' We shouldn’t have to move. We paid the same amount everyone else did," she said.
After refusing to move, Phillips and about a dozen others were banned indefinitely from the races.
According to Phillip's, the employee was asking for people using wheelchairs to move to a grassy area near the track's fence; a location normally off-limits due to safety concerns. Grounds crews even spray painted the grassy area, "handicapped area only."
"He wanted to put us in turn four where all dirt the comes flying off the cars and into the stands. It is a very dangerous spot to put a little girl in a wheelchair who can hardly defend herself," said Hanah's father, Jack.
Jack Phillips, a race car driver at the track, believes the racetrack has ulterior motives.
"I think a lot of this is about the money. Move us down and out of the way and maybe squeeze more people into the stands," he said.
The family says the venue is not handicapped accessible but has tolerated the inconveniences.
Channel 13 tried reaching out to Lawton by phone and by email but have yet to hear back. However, the speedway released the following statement: