NASCAR returned on May 17th to empty stands due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This Sunday, honorary guests will be invited to return to the track for races. It will begin during Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as up to 1,000 South Florida service members will be invited as spectators. That’s just over 2% of the total grandstand capacity of the Speedway in Miami.
As many as 5,000 fans will be allowed at Talledgega on June 21st for the GEICO 500. That’s just about 3% of it’s total capacity. At peak, Talledega International Speedway can hold around 175,000 spectators.
Social distancing requirements and other precautionary measures will be put into place upon arrival.
NASCAR’s plan to have fans return been signed off with guidance from public health officials, medical experts, and local, state, and federal officials. It’s part of a monitor and improve a process that will work to increase the number of fans attending future races.
Not all tracks have said they will participate in the revised plans. Pocono Raceway holds two races at the end of June and will be held without fans as well as Martinsville on Wednesday.
The return of fans to the sport has already had drivers weighing in on outside influence held by fans in the stands. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., NASCAR’s only African American driver, called on the stock car racing association to ban Confederate flags at its events during an interview on Monday.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with confederate flags,” Wallace said in an interview Monday. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
NASCAR issued a statement surrounding civil unrest on June 1st.
“The NASCAR family like so many others is hurt and angered by the immensely troubling events that have taken place across our country in recent weeks. For us to heal and move forward as a nation, we all need to listen more and be united in the stand against racism, hatred and senseless violence and loss of life. And we must all hold ourselves accountable to driving positive change.
While our sport has made progress over the years, there remains much work to be done and we fully embrace our responsibility to help bridge the racial divide that continues to exist in our country. We must do better and our commitment to promoting equality and inclusion continues and will never waver.”
The sport holds races at over 30 locations across the United States and Canada. Over 30% of current racetracks are located in Southern states.
NASCAR was founded in Daytona, Florida in 1948.