NASCAR Plans to Roar Back Without Fans

States compete to host the first race after return
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2020 6:55 PM CDT
NASCAR Plans to Roar Back Without Fans
A NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series auto race starts in February 2019 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.   (AP Photo/Scott Cunningham, File)

The race is on among states willing to host the first NASCAR race without fans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Monday that NASCAR was working with Texas Motor Speedway on a plan to race there. "To prevent spread of #COVID19, it will be without fans," Abbott said. "But they will put on a great show for TV." Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had already spoken to a NASCAR executive, the AP reports, potentially putting both NASCAR-controlled Homestead-Miami Speedway and Daytona International Speedway in play. Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said his track was working on rescheduling its Cup Series event, one of eight races NASCAR has postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. NASCAR has said it plans to run all of its remaining 32 races. The Texas race, the first of two this year at the 1½-mile Fort Worth track, was scheduled for March 29.

"A non-spectator event is not perfect because in our sport, the fans come first," Gossage said. "But circumstances are such that this is a novel answer for the return of the sport for now." Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports—which owns Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Texas track—said he is eager to work with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to ensure the Coca-Cola 600 runs as scheduled May 24. Republican lawmakers have asked Cooper, a Democrat, to allow the showcase race. "For 60 years. this race has been a Memorial Day weekend tradition," Smith said. The state is under a stay-at-home order through April. "Our sport is unique because the competitors are inside the race cars with no body-to-body contact like most other sports," Gossage said. "That is a distinct advantage over other sports and why you will likely see auto racing as the first live sport returning to action."

(Read more NASCAR stories.)

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