Photo: Homestead-Miami Speedway Twitter
NASCAR allowed a limited number of fans to attend races this past weekend of June 13 and 14th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR made an announcement prior to the event stating that all fans would be screened before entering and would be required to wear face coverings. Attendees would also be asked to practice safe social distancing and would not have access to the infield, among other revised operational protocols.
Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 2020 NASCAR weekend was originally scheduled to be run March 20-22.
In addition, NASCAR allowed up to 1,000 Florida service members, representing the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral, to attend the Cup Series race Sunday as honorary guests and view the race from the grandstands.
Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama will allow up to 5,000 guests in the front stretch grandstands/towers for the Sunday, June 21 Cup race. There will be limited motorhome/camping spots available outside the track. “It’s a cautious, conservative approach,” said Daryl Wolfe, NASCAR executive vice president and chief sales and operations officer. “We feel confident in our plan. Also, it doesn’t mean that we won’t also have additional learnings and adapt our plan going forward. That’s the whole purpose of being very slow, methodical in phasing this in.”
NASCAR said it was prepared to handle the increased crowds. Wolfe said there could be limited hospitality at Talladega.
NASCAR is one of the few sports operating during the novel coronavirus pandemic. NASCAR has returned to racing, but has not allowed fans inside the tracks in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The Cup Series race Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway was without fans in attendance. A doubleheader weekend June 27 and 28 at Pocono Raceway is scheduled to be without fans in the stands as well.
NASCAR used the venue to maintain distance in garage stalls and made personal protection equipment available to its spectators and employees. The Company also had set guidelines to safely hold the events using the recommended measures set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). on social distancing and personal protective equipment. Haulers were parked six feet apart and drivers also self-isolated in their motorhomes as they prepared to compete.
“We really miss our fans, but, at the same time, we’re with our fans,” 2018 NASCAR champion Joey Logano said. “Before the races start and you’re on pit road and you don’t have any fans around you, you can’t hear any cheering or booing from driver’s intros, or everyone getting all fired up before they say ‘drivers start your engines.’ We don’t have that part, but when the race starts, the race starts and you’re kind of in the zone and you don’t notice it.”
Talladega tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis to fans who purchased tickets or reserved camping for the originally scheduled April 26 race. There will be limited menus and limited food preparation on site. The additional Xfinity Series event is a realigned race that was originally scheduled for June 13 at Iowa Speedway.
William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.