NASCAR races to have few fans



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NASCAR with fans update for 2021 season Image: NASCAR & autosport.com

Limited fans will be in attendance at almost all of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)’s earliest races in 2021. As COVID-19 continues to bruise the United States severely, individual tracks have reduced their respective seating capacity, to start with the season-opening Daytona 500. The NASCAR schedule has already been reconfigured once.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock car racing.

Against the above scenario, charlotteobserver.com finds out which tracks are greeting fans in a COVID-struck United States:
 

Limited fans allowed for Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 is a 500-mile-long NASCAR Cup Series motor race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, US.

The 101,500-capacity Daytona International Speedway is a race track in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. Since opening in 1959, it has been the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR as well as its season opening event.

Daytona International Speedway announced in December 2020 that fans in restricted numbers would be permitted for NASCAR’s main event on February 14th, 2021, and all Speedweeks races that will be held before Daytona 500, including the Clash, Duels and the Trucks and Xfinity races. The Daytona stands cab fit in up to 101,500 spectators, as per the speedway website, but a specific capacity cap was not provided.

Daytona Speedweeks is a series of racing events that take place during January and February at the Daytona International Speedway. For 2021, the events lead up to and conclude with the Daytona Grand Prix. The races take place Saturday evening during both Xfinity series races at the Speedway.

According to the ‘Daytona Beach News-Journal’, the last two NASCAR Cup races at Daytona – the road course race in August and the regular-season finale a few weeks later – greeted an estimated 10,000 and 25,000 spectators, respectively.

Strict COVID-19 protocols are being observed by the Daytona Speedway. Face coverings are a must for visitors, undergoing a health screening and temperature check at the entry points, following social distancing norms and going in for cashless transactions for limited concessions.
 

Limited fans for road course race at Daytona

charlotteobserver.com stated that in December 2019, NASCAR’s original schedule was partially reconfigured following which the Daytona road course race was moved to second in the order and bumped Auto Club Speedway from the lineup completely.

The above step has been initiated so that fans in greater numbers can grace the event because Florida’s COVID-19 policies are not so rigid when compared to Southern California, as well as to minimize travel between States. Nevertheless, for the Cup race on February 21st, gates will be open for limited number of fans.
 

Limited fans for Homestead

charlotteobserver.com reported that following realignment of NASCAR’s schedule, the race at Homestead, Florida, was pushed back one week to February 28th, and the track declared that it will play host to fans in limited numbers. The track can accommodate 55,000 people in the grandstand. At the Inter-Miami CF Stadium an hour north of the track, the attendance figure is swinging like a pendulum between 14 and 20 percent of the stadium’s 18,000-seat capacity for soccer events in recent months. The track’s COVID-19 guidelines are in sync with those of Daytona International Speedway.

The 46,000-capacity Homestead-Miami Speedway is a motor racing track located in Homestead, Florida. The track, which has several configurations, has promoted several series of racing, including NASCAR, the IndyCar Series, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, and the Championship Cup Series.
 

Las Vegas – TBD

charlotteobserver.com found out that tickets are on sale for the Cup race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where seating was last estimated at fewer than 80,000 seats. The track’s last Cup race in September 2019 was held sans fans and there is no update on whether fans will be allowed in restricted numbers for the March 7th race.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell sent out a statement at the time of NASCAR’s 2021 schedule release which read, “We’re extremely happy to have our Spring date moved back into March. It’s better for our fans, partners and everyone involved with our event to have a little separation from the Daytona 500. We feel as though we have the perfect dates for both of our NASCAR Cup Series events.”

Stringent safety policies are in place which includes mandatory wearing of masks in the facility except when seated, agreeing to undergo a health screening and temperature check and maintaining six feet of physical distancing between parties. Policies can be found in the track’s ‘Notice of Risk and Policies’ document.

The 80,000-capacity Las Vegas Motor Speedway, located in Clark County, Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada (US) about 15 miles Northeast of the Las Vegas Strip, is a 1,200-acre complex of multiple tracks for motorsports racing. The complex is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, US.
 

Phoenix – limited in-person attendance

Fan attendance at the Phoenix Raceway (US) was restricted to 20 percent capacity for the racing extravaganza held in November 2020. Recently, it was announced that the track will again play host to limited number of race enthusiasts. The next Cup race is scheduled for March 14th.

charlotteobserver.com reported that racing buffs who have already bought tickets and plan to attend will be relocated to ensure physically distanced seating. In case the track is not in a position to reseat them, the ticket money will be refunded, according to the track website.

COVID-19 protocols will be followed in toto – temperature check and health screening at the ingress point is compulsory, mandatory wearing of masks while in the facility and strict maintaining of social distancing between groups. More information in this regard can be found on the speedway website.

The 42,000-capacity Phoenix Raceway is a 1-mile, low-banked tri-oval race track located in Avondale, Arizona, near Phoenix (US). The motorsport track opened in 1964 and currently hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually. Phoenix Raceway has also hosted the CART, IndyCar Series, USAC and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
 

Atlanta – limited fans

charlotteobserver.com further reported that the Atlanta Motor Speedway will allow limited number of fans in March. Atlanta Motor Speedway will allow a limited number of fans to camp on the infield during its NASCAR weekend March 20th-21st. The speedway in suburban Hampton plans to utilize the Flock Brothers campground, located inside turns 1 and 2 of the 1.54-mile oval.

Social distancing will have to be maintained. The shower facilities and restrooms at the camp ground will not be open during the race weekend.

The 71,000-125,000-capacity (depending on configuration) Atlanta Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile race track in Hampton, Georgia, United States, 20 miles south of Atlanta. It has annually hosted NASCAR Cup Series stock car races since its inauguration in 1960. The venue was bought by Speedway Motorsports in 1990.
 

Bristol dirt race – limited entry for spectators

charlotteobserver.com added that the Bristol Motor Speedway announced recently that the track had made arrangements in such a manner that spectators will be able to savor the March 28th spectacle while maintaining strict social distancing norms. Circa 22,000 fans were welcomed by the track for last year’s All-Star Race and attendance appeared closer to its sold-out allotted 20 percent capacity (30,000 spectators) for the Cup race there in September.

The speedway has stopped selling grandstand tickets, but informed that a limited number of premium-seating options remain available for purchase. Information on ticketing and health and safety protocols can be found on the speedway website.

The 1,62,000-capacity Bristol Motor Speedway, formerly known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway, is a NASCAR short track venue located in Bristol, Tennessee (US). Constructed in 1960, it held its first NASCAR race on July 30th, 1961.

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