HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 24: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Snickers Creamy (18) receives … [+]
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
NASCAR announced Thursday afternoon that race events this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be held, but without fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
These events, NASCAR said in a statement, “will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race.” NASCAR added it would work with public health officials to determine scheduling beyond those two events.
Atlanta Motor Speedway later announced that ticket holders on file for events will receive a full credit towards speedway purchases for grandstand seating, infield access, camping, fan hospitality and pit passes. The offer is good for 2020 and 2021 events.
The Vet Tix Camping World 200 truck race is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, with the EchoPark 250 Xfinity Series race at 4 p.m. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race in the Cup series is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Earlier Thursday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said in a statement that the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 22 had been postponed, but that “NASCAR officials will decide whether or not to hold the race without fans.”
Gimenez also said in the statement: “Although we do not have community spread at this time, we want to take the pre-emptive steps to keep it that way. Therefore, I have decided to suspend the operation of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, the Miami Open tennis tournament, the MIA 5K run, and all major events at the American Airlines Arena.”
NASCAR races are typically among the most well-attended sporting events in the U.S., particularly in the spring. Atlanta had two annual Cup races until 2010, and its fall race often drew more than 100,000. As recently as 2012, the only Cup race there drew 90,000-plus.
Because fans had wanted a warmer race date, the Atlanta race was moved this year to the fifth race of the season from the second, when it followed the Daytona 500 in February. It appeared as if the track, capacity 71,000, was only half-full last year. Still, it was about the same as the crowd of about 42,000 on Sunday in Phoenix.
The event at Homestead-Miami Speedway had been the last race of the season for years until it was moved after last season. The race is now called the Dixie Vodka 400.
(This post will be updated as needed.)
HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 24: Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Autotrader (2) takes the … [+]
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Source