E.A. Sports Today

Talladega to race with 5,000 fans

Limited numbers will be allowed to NASCAR Cup events at Homestead, Talladega, ‘the race day experience is going to change; it’ll be different’

Here’s a typical race day crowd at Talladega Superspeedway. It will be anything but typical when racing returns there in two weeks.

By East Alabama Sports Today
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR today announced a “cautious, conservative and measured” plan to reintroduce fans at select NASCAR Cup Series races beginning with this weekend’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway the following week.
The racing body’s modified event procedures, protocols and number of attendees have been finalized with guidance from public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal officials. All fans in attendance will be screened before entering, required to wear face coverings, mandated to social distance at 6 feet, and will not have access to the infield, among other revised operational protocols.
Talladega will allow up to 5,000 fans in the frontstretch grandstands/towers for the GEICO 500. In addition, there will be limited motorhome/fifth-wheel camping spots available outside the track high atop the Alabama Gang Superstretch.
It’s not 95,000, but it’s a start for those who want to see sporting events with full capacity in the stands.
“I think everyone on this call and certainly the people around this sport recognize what race fans mean to our sport,” NASCAR executive vice president and COO Daryl Wolfe told reporters on a teleconference after the announcement. “I’ve always said I think we have the best fans in all of sports. They’re knowledgeable, passionate, loyal and they’re the reason we show up and race every week. They’re kind of the energy that really fuels the sport week in and week out.
“We want race fans back at our race tracks and based on all of our interactions that we’ve done so far … overwhelmingly our fans want to come back to the race tracks. Having said that, we clearly understand there’s an immense responsibility here that comes with this exercise. We want to be very methodical, very measured and we want to be cautious as we go through this.”
The 5,000 limit at Talladega is an extension of the stair-step approach NASCAR officials are taking towards the return to capacity and a figure they believe is the “right number” to go from Homestead to Talladega. Homestead has a 1,000-fan limit, a low-single-digit percentage of its track’s capacity. 
“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. 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.”
NASCAR has not made any determination on crowd limitations at future races, although it previously has publicly stated it would not have fans at Pocono, the next race after Talladega.
“We could probably be more aggressive in some of these numbers, but we’re choosing not to,” Wolfe said. “We want to start very small, learn and then adapt those protocols passed on by those key learnings to the next event.”
Tickets for Talladega are open exclusively on a first come, first served basis to fans who purchased tickets or reserved camping for the originally scheduled GEICO 500 (April 26) and live within 150 miles of the track in the state.
The geographical limitations are being implemented to limit travel and reduce risk. Eligible fans may use their April event credit to select new seats or may purchase seats, if preferred, through the following options:

* Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/return for complete details
* Respond to an email offer sent to Alabama TSS spring ticket customers within the 150-mile radius
* Call 1-877-Go2-DEGA
All fans in attendance will be screened before entering the facility, required to wear face coverings, and mandated to social distancing of six feet throughout venue. The tracks will provide PPE for fans who arrive without them. Coolers will be prohibited, but concessions will be available.
NASCAR also is working on its plan for corporate hospitality, a plan it hopes to unveil sometime this week.
No guests will be allowed to enter the infield, as that will remain restricted to essential personnel. There will be no tailgating outside the property – prior, during or post event with the exception of those customers who purchased admissions for the motorhome/fifth-wheel RV spots on the Alabama Gang Superstretch.
The available 44 motorhome and fifth-wheel RV spots on top of the Alabama Gang Superstretch come with full hookups. Campers (maximum of six guests per spot) will go through the same screenings as grandstand ticket holders and have the option of coming on property during select times Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.
“The race day experience is going to change,” Wolfe said. “It’s going to be different.”
Talladega’s weekend of racing kicks off with a Saturday doubleheader – the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Menards Series at 1 p.m. followed by a 300-miler for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at 4:30. These two events will compete without fans in attendance.
“This initial plan … is a cautious, conservative approach,” Wolfe said. “We feel confident in our plan but that doesn’t mean we won’t also have additional learnings and we will adapt our plan going forward. That’s the purpose of being slow and methodical phasing this in.” 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login