NASCAR last month became the first major American sport to return to action after the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shut down live events globally. Now NASCAR is set to become the first of those sports to allow fans to return to facilities for live events — granted, on a limited basis.
NASCAR on June 9 announced its upcoming Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway (June 14) and Talladega Superspeedway (June 21) will play out with select fans in the stands. NASCAR owns both of those tracks and was able to work with local and state officials to allow fans to attend after previously stating the stands for both races would be empty.
“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for the responsibility that comes with integrating guests back into our events,” said NASCAR chief operations and sales officer Daryl Wolfe. "We believe implementing this methodical process is an important step forward for the sport and the future of live sporting events. The passion and unwavering support of our industry and fans is the reason we race each weekend, and we look forward to slowly and responsibly welcoming them back at select events."
Slowly and responsibly are key words, because only a small percentage of each track's capacity will be granted access. Homestead-Miami Speedway will allow up to 1,000 people in its grandstand seating, but tickets are limited to South Florida service members (Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral) as honorary guests. Tickets for the Homestead race are not available to the general public.
The Geico 500 at Talladega, though, is open to the general public — kind of. Up to 5,000 fans will be able to attend the race, but only if they meet specific criteria.
Below are the details.
How to get NASCAR tickets for Talladega race
Below are the criteria fans need to meet in order to get tickets to the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 21:
A Talladega account holder who already purchased ticket or camping for originally scheduled (April 26) Geico 500
Live within 150 miles of the track in the state of Alabama
According to the track, reason behind the 150-mile radius for fans who are allowed to attend is to limit travel and therefore reduce risk. The limited number of fans allowed (5,000) was finalized with guidance from public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal officials.
Account holders who had tickets for the originally scheduled race can only get tickets (not camping) for the rescheduled event. Those who had tickets and reserved camping can choose tickets or a camping spot, but not both. Those who had reserved camping can secure only a camping spot.
For those who meet the criteria, tickets for the Talladega race are available on a first come, first served basis. Per the track, they have three options to try to claim tickets:
Visit this link
Respond to an email the track recently sent to spring ticket customers within the 150-mile radius
In addition to the 5,000 people who will be allowed in Talladega's frontstretch grandstands/towers, there will be 44 motorhome/fifth-wheel camping spots available outside the track high atop the backstretch. Those spots can be claimed with one of the three options listed above.
Grandstand tickets for the Talladega race are $40 each, and tower tickets are $50 each. A maximum of six seats together will be allowed, and groups will be social distanced.
"Our frontstretch grandstands and towers are massive, measuring an incredible eight tenths of a mile long,” said Talladega Superspeedway president Brian Crichton. “That provides us ample room to be able to welcome race fans back with plenty of safe distancing between guests."
Fans in attendance will have to follow strict health guidelines. They will be screened (including a temperature check) before entering the track and will be required to wear masks while maintaining at least six feet of social distancing with others throughout the venue. Outside coolers will not be allowed, but the track's concessions will be open.
Which NASCAR races will allow fans in the stands?
As of now, the races at Homestead-Miami Speedway (June 14) and Talladega Superspeedway (June 21) are the only events confirmed to allow fans in the stands — with the aforementioned restrictions, of course.
Pocono Raceway (June 27-28), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 5) and Kentucky Speedway (July 12) have already announced fans will not be allowed to attend the upcoming NASCAR races at their facilities.
As for the races at Charlotte, Texas, Kansas and New Hampshire through Aug. 2, the last of the events currently confirmed on NASCAR's modified Cup Series schedule for 2020, those tracks reportedly are working with local and state officials on the possibility of allowing fans in some capacity.
Below are all of the races currently confirmed on NASCAR's Cup Series schedule, starting with the pair of Darlington races the series ran in its return to live action last month, and whether fans are allowed to attend.
Sun., May 17
Wed., May 20
Sun., May 24
Wed., May 27
Sun, May 31
Sun, June 7
Wed, June 10
Sun, June 14
Sun, June 21
Sat., June 27
Sun., June 28
Sun., July 5
Sun., July 12
Wed., July 15
Charlotte (All-Star Race)
Sun., July 19
Thurs., July 23
Sun., Aug. 2