By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – NASCAR will allow a limited number of spectators to attend two June races in Florida and Alabama amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the popular racing series said on Tuesday.
The plan to reintroduce guests at select NASCAR Cup Series races will begin with the June 14 Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
NASCAR, which postponed racing in mid-March due to concerns over the novel coronavirus and resumed action in mid-May, said it will welcome up to 1,000 invited military members to the Miami race while Talledega will allow up to 5,000 guests.
Homestead-Miami can normally host up to 46,000 fans while the capacity at Talladega Superspeedway ranges between 80,000-175,000.
Among the safety measures in place, NASCAR said guests in attendance will be screened before entering, required to wear face coverings and maintain social distance.
“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for the responsibility that comes with integrating guests back into our events,” NASCAR Executive Vice President Daryl Wolfe said in a statement.
“We believe implementing this methodical process is an important step forward for the sport and the future of live sporting events.
NASCAR was the first major sport in the United States to return to action amid the COVID-19 pandemic when it held a May 17 race in South Carolina without spectators.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)