NASCAR returned to action on May 17 following a COVID-19-forced postponement. Racing's governing body held Cup Series events without fans in North and South Carolina but could soon be altering the rules. NASCAR is reportedly examining the possibility of allowing fans during certain events.
According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, NASCAR hasn't made any final decisions just yet. However, the governing body is evaluating various options in order to bring fans back for events, potentially as soon as the end of June. He listed both Homestead-Miami and Talladega Superspeedway as options, albeit with some adjustments. There would be reduced capacity for the events in order to prevent potential spikes in positive tests.
"Gonna book some plane tickets," one fan commented on Monday. There were several expressing concern about bringing fans back so soon, but many others did not share this opinion. They expressed excitement over the news and proclaimed that they are making travel plans.
Five Cup Series races have taken place without fans in attendance, leading to comments from drivers about the atmosphere. Kevin Harvick mentioned after his win in The Real Heroes 400 that the lack of sound was strange. Similarly, Kurt Busch told Pop Culture in an exclusive interview that there are moments of "eerie silence" during the events due to the lack of fans.
Despite having no one to cheer on their burnouts or victories, the drivers have still expressed happiness about being back in action. NASCAR faced a 10-week postponement due to the coronavirus, leading to questions about the remainder of the season. Instead of shutting the drivers down for the season, NASCAR returned in May and held several successful events in North and South Carolina while following new health and safety guidelines.
Now the action will head to a different state for the first time since racing's return. Sunday's race, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, will take place in Atlanta. This event was previously scheduled for March 15 but became the first victim of the postponed season. It will now kick off the expanded schedule.
Following the race in Atlanta, drivers will have a short turnaround before another Cup Series race. They will head to Martinsville on June 10 and then Homestead-Miami on June 14. If NASCAR decides to allow fans, this mid-June race could be the first option. Additionally, there will be a Cup Series race at Talladega on June 21 where the governing body could test fan attendance.