Darlington Raceway in South Carolina will host limited fans for the 71st annual running of the Southern 500 on Sunday, September 6, with the NASCAR Cup Series set to return for a third race at the track.
The announcement comes as NASCAR prepares to return to Darlington for two days of racing action throughout Labor Day weekend, which also marks the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR. The action will start on Saturday, September 5, for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 event followed by the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race and the Cup Series Southern 500 race on Sunday, September 6.
“The Southern 500 is a time-honored tradition in motorsports, so we look forward to creating new NASCAR Cup Series Playoff memories with fans returning to Darlington Raceway,” Kerry Tharp, Darlington Raceway President, said. “After successfully hosting the sport’s return to competition in May, the track Too Tough To Tame will be ready to welcome fans back for a safe race experience.”
The attendance of race fans for the Southern 500 will be limited in accordance with public health officials and local, state and federal authorities along with any other safety protocols and procedures. Fans who have purchased tickets ahead of time for the race will be reseated in new locations, while making them as comparable as possible with original seating, with new lower ticket pricing available. All guests who attend the race at the track will be screened prior to entering the facility, required to wear face coverings/masks and distance one another six feet apart.
This year’s Southern 500 marks the first race of the 2020 Cup Playoffs and the first of three events in the Round of 16. Darlington Raceway also marks the site of NASCAR’s return to on-track racing in May 17 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that was followed by a second Cup race on May 20 and an Xfinity Series event on May 21.
The upcoming Cup race at Darlington does not mark the only occasion where limited fans were allowed to attend a race at the grandstands amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Tracks that include Homestead-Miami Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Road America opened their facilities for select fans to attend the race and experience the live on-track action from the grandstands. Daytona International Speedway is set to have fans in attendance for the upcoming races on August 14-16 and on August 28-29.
The NASCAR triple-header action at Darlington Raceway will commence on September 5 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC for the Xfinity Series followed by the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series return to Darlington on September 6 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1. The action will cap off with the Southern 500 and the 2020 Playoff opener on September 6 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN for the Cup Series.