The coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancellation of many sporting events around the world as social distancing rules have made it hard for fans and participants to attend. The return of NASCAR to the racing calendar ranked with the Korean soccer league and Germany’s Bundesliga as the first to return to play. However, as with the majority of major events, NASCAR has so far maintained a strict policy of no fans allowed at its races.
Social distancing rules have been of paramount importance for NASCAR to the second week of June, but the news that the first few fans would soon be allowed to attend races came as something of a surprise. The June 14th race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the first to feature fans with the possibility of more fans being allowed to enter at upcoming events.Read More »
NASCAR has not yet gone to these lengths when it comes to filling stadiums in preparation for races to be televised. Drivers have been expressing their concerns about the lack of fans at races while retaining their desire for fans to stay safe as they search for a vaccine continues. The races that have already taken place in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia have so far taken place in front of no spectators at the track as the distancing regulations set in place by different state authorities have to be followed.
In terms of the arrival of fans at NASCAR races, the latest advice coming from the racing organization is that around 1,000 service members will be permitted to enter the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. This will be the first step in inviting fans back to the track to return the wider NASCAR family to the racetrack and honor U.S. Service Members. Members of the services in Miami from the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida will attend the race on Sunday as guests of NASCAR.
The return of fans to the stands at the Homestead-Miami Speedway will make NASCAR the first major sports event to allow spectators to return to trackside. In other areas of the world, the decision has been made to keep fans away until either a vaccine has been prepared or the virus has virtually faded away. In Spain, the next major sporting league to return to action will be the La Liga soccer league where fans will be replaced by a virtual crowd that will replace human spectators. La Liga is also taking the step of using crowd noise from the FIFA 20 video game to reduce the silence that has been seen in the NASCAR races so far held.
As the NASCAR season moves forward, the opening up of spectator spaces will continue to grow with the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama planning to allow around 5,000 fans to attend an upcoming race. The June 21 Sprint Cup race will be held with 5,000 fans in the stands, although a six-feet distance and protective facemasks must be adhered to at all times. NASCAR has stated all fans must be willing to wear facemasks with personal protective equipment available for those who do not have a face-covering available.
Officials from NASCAR believe it will be possible to maintain a safe distance between fans at all times because it has already perfected its guidelines with pit crew and drivers. The vast army of staff members who have been working on races since the rise of the pandemic with drivers spending their time self-isolating in their campers before racing. These measures are only some of those that have been put into place by NASCAR, but the lack of discussion about COVID-19 testing has concerned some. NASCAR has so far refused to provide details of any positive COVID-19 tests since the return to racing on May 19th. This is in direct contrast to the other major sport to return to action of soccer, with the English Football Associations revealing the results of testing after every round is completed.
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