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NASCAR’s ‘All-Star’ race moves from Charlotte to Bristol

NASCAR’s ‘All-Star’ race moves from Charlotte to Bristol

Charlotte, NC, June 16/20 (GRW): NASCAR has announced that the NASCAR Cup Series ‘All-Star’ race will not be held at its traditional Charlotte Motor Speedway site this year but, instead, it will be held at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, July 15.

For the first time for a Speedway Motorsports (SMI) venue since the lock down began, a limited number of race fans will be allowed to attend. Race fans who hold vouchers for cancelled SMI events will be able to use these for credit towards tickets for the ‘All-Star’ event. The fact that both of these venues are part of the SMI block of race tracks makes moving this event from Charlotte to Bristol relatively seamless.

Why was this decision to move this event made?

"While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer," Marcus Smith, SMI President and CEO, said.

In plain language it sounds like the projections for the continued impact of the COVID-19 virus in North Carolina makes it wise to move the event to Tennessee which may have lower case numbers – and, in Tennessee, they will be allowed to open up to a limited number of spectators, something that was probably not possible to plan for at Charlotte on this date. (Remember that the Republican nomination convention, which was planned to be held in Charlotte in late August has been moved to Jacksonville, Florida, a state which seems to be less concerned about the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.)

The plan is to issue 30,000 tickets for race fans to attend. Of course, it will not be business usual – the fans will be spaced out over the approximately 160,000 grandstand seats plus guest boxes – and all the other standard protocols will be in place as well.

Ironically, Bristol presents itself as a good site for spacing out the fans because it has been unable to downsize its seating capacity. Unlike other speedways which have torn down much of the seating built in the latter part of the 1990s during NASCAR’s boom times, Bristol cannot remove any significant part of its 160,000 seat grandstands without it being painfully obvious. Hence, I’m guessing that Bristol may have more seats over which to space out fans than any other speedway on the schedule. On second thought, Indianapolis has more seats than that but Bristol must have as many as any other ‘NASCAR’ speedway I can think of. In this case, it’s a good thing – and it makes going to Bristol a logical decision.

On a related note, IMSA has also announced that when its ‘WeatherTech 240' at Daytona is run on Saturday, July 4th at the Daytona International Speedway, a limited number of race fans will be allowed to attend the event. Plans are for “5,000 [spectators] to attend the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At DAYTONA with available seating in the frontstretch grandstands, as well as a limited number of infield camping guests. All must be Florida residents, and will adhere to social distancing guidelines.” With its large number of grandstand seats and its large infield camping area, they should have no problems with the requirement that fans follow appropriate spacing guidelines.

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