Only days ahead of the first NASCAR event since March 8, Darlington SC police have arrested a man for leaving threatening messages describing an explosive device and the damage he could do to the historic southern racing facility.
Michael Donavon Avin, 46, was arrested Wednesday in Darlington County for allegedly threatening the raceway and also allegedly delivering a letter to another location stating he had access to 113 tonnes of bomb-making materials, according to local NBC affiliate WYFF.
Avin was charged with possession, threatened, or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for act of terrorism, not resulting in death. It is not clear whether the man actually had access to the materials he allegedly claimed to, or what any potential motive may have been.
NASCAR is aiming to return to racing at Darlington this weekend. The series has been on hiatus since March 8 due to the international coronavirus health crisis—a threat which has not subsided.
It is unclear whether this had anything to do with Avin’s alleged threats against the track. Reports indicate that the initial threatening message was left on April 27. Presumably the Darlington area police wanted to find the person behind the threats before thousands of high-profile racers and NASCAR team members descend on the facility.
The race will be run without fans in the grandstands, and with a reduced staff at the track. Racing will take place in as few days as possible without qualifying sessions run to limit potential virus transfer. Hopefully, the bomb threat will be taken seriously and the facility will be thoroughly checked before the race weekend. Regardless of how believable the threats may be. You can never be too safe.
NASCAR has declined to make any statements on the incident.