Talladega will allow a few thousand people to watch its June 21 Cup Series race in person.
The track said Tuesday that 5,000 people could attend its rescheduled race. Talladega is hosting a race in 12 days to make up for its postponed May race because of the coronavirus pandemic. The track’s decision to allow a limited number of fans comes a week after Homestead-Miami Speedway will allow “up to” 1,000 military members to attend the race in the grandstands.
The two races will be the first major sporting events in the United States with fans in attendance since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. And it’s worth noting just how limited the attendance at both races will be compared to capacity levels if you’re interested in thinking about how full stadiums and outdoor event sites could safely be in the coming weeks and months.
NASCAR said 88,000 fans attended the 2012 fall Cup Series race at Talladega. That’s the last time the sanctioning body released attendance figures for a Talladega race. Attendance figures have not been announced since the end of the 2012 season.
The 5,000 fans will be able to sit in the grandstands on the frontstretch while 44 camper spots are available on the backstretch of the track. No fans will be allowed to go into the infield because of NASCAR’s strict social distancing protocols.
“Our frontstretch grandstands and towers are massive, measuring an incredible eight tenths of a mile long,” Talladega president Brian Crichton said in a statement. “That provides us ample room to be able to welcome race fans back with plenty of safe distancing between guests. NASCAR and the track staff will continue to work with health and government officials, and be ready to provide a safe experience for the NASCAR fans in attendance.”
The tickets for the June 21 race are set to be given to people who had already purchased tickets for the race. Fans attending must live within 150 miles of Talladega and will be required to wear a mask and be subject to a screening before they enter the track.
There are no plans for fans to attend the four Cup Series races after Talladega at Pocono (two races), Indianapolis and Kentucky.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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