NASCAR returned from a 10-week hiatus on Sunday afternoon with The Real Heroes 400. This race, which the organization held at Darlington Raceway, created excitement among racing fans, but they still felt that something was off. The reason is that the stands at the Lady in Black were empty due to health and safety concerns. When racing's governing body announced its official return, there was the added clause about fan attendance. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments to ban gatherings of more than 10 people, and NASCAR had every intention of following the rules.
Fans will not be allowed at The Real Heroes 400 — or any future events — until it is deemed safe for attendees. Still, the majority of fans were excited to see the return of their favorite drivers even if they couldn't attend in person. Although, this was not a universal opinion considering that many fans used the crowd-free event as an opportunity to express their views about the state of NASCAR and make some jokes about whether or not the sport can draw fans.
Wearing masks in an open air track with no fans and social distancing seem a bit over the top.— BrianM 🤔🇺🇸🦅 (@brianm853) May 17, 2020
Wearing masks outside???? What am I seeing! Overkill! 😡 please breath! I’m with the tailgaters! 🍻🍗🌮🌭— Patriot1600 (@AngelaTinsley19) May 17, 2020
No fans in the stands. Pit crews social distancing. Some personnel working remotely at team headquarters.
Still takes NASCAR 45+ minutes into the broadcast to actually start the race.
Nice to see some things don't change.— Andrew Chiappazzi (@BCT_AChiappazzi) May 17, 2020
No fans, no pre-race nonsense, no families on pit lane, and NASCAR still can’t get a race started on time— Jeremy Meads (@jeremymeads) May 17, 2020
This NASCAR race today might be the Wildest thing I’ve ever seen. No fans, remote commentators, everybody wearing masks, a virtual national anthem. This could go down as one of the most unique sporting events in American History. #NASCAR #RealHeroes400— DIRT N ASPHALT (@DIRTN_Asphalt) May 17, 2020
So damned stupid: NASCAR is racing today with no fans in the stands — yet the race announcers are “social distancing” by broadcasting the race from a separate city! = #coronavirus #NASCAR #Darlington400— Again America (@AgainAmerica) May 17, 2020
Watching all the prerace ceremonies with no fans in the stands feels like I’m watching a Little League baseball game being streamed for 5 people #NASCAR— #1 asmRJ account (@TheASMRJ) May 17, 2020
NASCAR is back again but it’s weird when there are no fans in the stands. Let’s go racing!!— Gerky✌ (@JenGerken) May 17, 2020
So nascar is gonna run before no fans. It’s kinda normal for them. Attendance has been on the decline for years. About 18 years ago I was totally into nascar. You can’t pay me to watch it now— Russ Solis 🏇 (@RussSolis79) May 17, 2020
So sports are back. Anyone watching @NASCAR today? No fans, masks, commentators not actually at the track... it’s eerie. It’s also the first nascar race I’ve ever watched.— Casey Muir (@Casey_Muir1) May 17, 2020
No fans in the stands is weird but I appreciate NASCAR trying something. #NASCARIsBack— Kassia (@KassiaS10) May 17, 2020
Watching NASCAR with no fans looks just like watching NASCAR anytime in the last 10 years.— Luke Snider (@LukeSnider2) May 17, 2020
with these races and no fans, everyone is about to figure out why @NASCAR uses multi-colored seats in the stands 😂— Tradd Jones (@mydudeTRADD) May 17, 2020