More than a month after featuring select fans in attendance for NASCAR’s annual exhibition event, Bristol Motor Speedway will open its facilities and grandstands to allow fans to return in attendance for the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series races on September 18-19.
The Xfinity and Cup Series are slated to return to Bristol Motor Speedway on September 18 and 19 as part of a quadruple-header week of racing that also involves the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series. The Xfinity Series event on September 18, the Food City 300, will occur at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the race serving as the final regular-season event of the season, where the 12-car Xfinity Playoff field will be determined. The Cup Series event on September 19, the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, will occur at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the event serving as the third and final Round of 16 event during the 2020 Cup Playoffs.
“We are thrilled that fans will be joining us this September for both the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race and Food City 300,” said Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, said. “We realize hosting major events here with fans during these unprecedented times comes with great responsibility. We anticipate a similar crowd size to July’s NASCAR All-Star Race for Saturday’s event and we will reduce capacity further for Friday night’s race. We will continue to be steadfast in our execution of our protocols and modified procedures to ensure these events are as safe as possible for everyone involved.”
Bristol Motor Speedway officials noted that all fans who attend the events in September are required to wear a face covering/mask in common areas (gates, concessions, restrooms and concourse areas) and will have their temperatures checked upon entering the facility. In addition, all ticketing transactions will be conducted digitally to reduce touch points, enhanced cleaning/sanitation will be provided in highly public areas, hand sanitizers will be provided for the fans throughout the track’s facility and the fans will be encouraged to wear masks upon exiting the facility when the races are concluded. Social distancing will be in effect and encouraged for all fans upon entering the grandstand seats, but all spectators who are inside the facility are permitted to remove their masks after arriving in their grandstands seats while socially distancing oneself from others.
“The opportunity to safely welcome back a limited number of guests for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race in Bristol Motor Speedway history is certainly a privilege that our team doesn’t take for granted,” Caldwell added. “Our extensive plan that we used successfully in July during the NASCAR All-Star Race, which has been utilized as a blueprint recently by other sports leagues in their planning to conduct live events, definitely meets or exceeds all recommended state and local guidelines. We remain in constant communication with local and state leaders and NASCAR about our safety plan and we’ll continue to carefully work with them to ensure we’re doing everything we can to keep our customers, participants, employees and surrounding communities safe.”
Exact attendance figures for the races will vary based on group sizes and keeping fans socially distanced from one another. Bristol Motor Speedway noted that masks will provided for fans, if needed. Fans will also be permitted to bring one clear bag (14x14x14) with food and beverages, but no coolers. The fans will also have options to park freely at Speedway Parking near the corner of White Top Road and Highway 394 or opt for paid parking at neighboring properties, but shuttles and trams will not operate during the events.
This marks the second time this season where Bristol Motor Speedway will allow fans to attend a NASCAR event. On July 15, the 36th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race occurred at Bristol Motor Speedway after the event was moved earlier to Bristol from Charlotte Motor Speedway due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and to allow fans to attend the event. Approximately 20,000 fans were in attendance throughout Bristol Motor Speedway’s grandstands, starting from the NASCAR All-Star Open to the All-Star Race occurring under the lights and when Chase Elliott notched his first All-Star victory, which made this the biggest crowd attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic paused all sporting events throughout the United States of America.
The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series races at Bristol, both to occur on September 17, will proceed with no fans in attendance.