MARTINVILLE, Va. – Now that COVID-19 restrictions have loosened in Virginia, NASCAR fans can finally see a race in person.
“Getting more fans in back in here. That’s what we wanted to do,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell.
Campbell is celebrating a different kind of victory. Not about what happens on the tack, but who’s watching from the stands.
NASCAR is making a comeback to Martinsville Speedway with a limited, reduced number of fans throughout the first-ever three-race weekend on April 8-10.
Martinsville Speedway is set to host Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on April 8, the Cook Out 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash race on April 9 at 8:00 p.m. and the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 NASCAR Cup Series race on Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The loosened COVID-19 restrictions take effect a week from Thursday, allowing outdoor entertainment venues up to 30% capacity, with no maximum.
For the speedway, that would be just over 13,000, but Campbell says, “I doubt seriously that we can get to 30% with social distancing.”
They haven’t landed on a capacity just yet, but they are working with NASCAR, state and local leaders to work it all out.
Henry County Administrator Tim Hall says the whole region will benefit from having more fans in town
“We’re slowly but surely, we’re crawling out to where we can look around and if we can put a significant number of folks in the stands for those three nights, that’s just another block on the way to getting where we need to be,” said Hall.
This move is certainly a big improvement from the empty stands last May, and the crowd of a thousand in November.
“We’re working our way back to normal and I think it’s going to be great to have fans here to enjoy what they’ve always enjoyed at Martinsville,” said Campbell. “The passion and the enthusiasm of our fans is second to none”
Officials announced in a press release Thursday that the reduced capacity for the weekend event is in accordance with Virginia’s coronavirus protocols. They plan on creating a safe environment for fans, competitors, employees and industry personnel.
To try to create a safe environment during the pandemic, officials said they will encourage social distancing throughout the venue, guests will be screened before entering the facility at staggered times and everyone will be required to wear masks. In addition, handwashing and hand-sanitizing stations will be found throughout the venue.
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