BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – For race fans, camping out before the big race has become a tradition.
Not only has it helped develop unbreakable bonds throughout the years, but it’s always been something Pam Potter of Cincinnati, Ohio looks forward to. To Potter, she’s fine with the protocols and restrictions in place due to COVID-19 as long as it means she can still go to the track and watch the race.
“We’re here, we’re seeing friends, we were so looking forward to this. I feel very safe. Bristol is doing whatever they can do to keep everybody safe,” she said.
It’s a big week for Bristol Motor Speedway with races starting on Thursday and fan attendance starting on Friday. Saturday’s race has already reached social distancing capacity, according to BMS officials.
While this race will have heightened sanitation and safety measures, it will be similar to the All-Star race in terms of how they clean as well as the maximum capacity.
However, this time around, all guests will be subject to temperature screening before entering the track.
Officials are still distancing seats as well as requiring guests to wear masks while on the property. Fans will be allowed to remove their mask once they are seated in their assigned seat.
While these restrictions can seem like an inconvenience to race-goers, fans who are already set-up at Bill and Ruth Gaines’ Bristol Campground don’t mind these new rules.
“They’re doing a good job with what they have and I’m really happy that we get to go to the race this time. Everything they’re doing with the protocol, they have to do. We understand that and we think it’s going to be great,” said Terri Maynard from Louisville, Kentucky.
In a statement released by BMS General Manager, Jerry Caldwell, it said:
“We are thrilled that fans will be joining us for both the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race and Food City 300. We realize hosting major events here with fans during these unprecedented times comes with great responsibility. We anticipate a similar crowd size to July’s NASCAR All-Star Race for Saturday’s event and we will reduce capacity further for Friday night’s race. We will continue to be steadfast in the execution of our protocols and modified procedures to ensure these events are as safe as possible for everyone involved.”-Jerry Caldwell, BMS General Manager
Arnold Weaver from Whitesburg, Kentucky also attended the All-Star race and saw the precautions in place first-hand. He said he felt safe and is excited to do it again for Friday and Saturday’s races.
“I have no problem with them. Whatever rules they make, I’ll follow them because I want to go to the race. It was fine for the All-Star race, I felt comfortable. I felt more comfortable at the racetrack than I do going to Walmart,” he said.
All-day Monday, crews thoroughly cleaned the last great colosseum and plan to do so again in between races.
An updated list of the primary protocols for this event include:
- All ticketing transactions will be conducted digitally to reduce touchpoints.
- Guests will receive temperature screenings upon entry into the stadium.
- Masks must be worn in common areas such as gates, concessions, restrooms, and concourse areas.
- Guests can remove their masks once they are in their socially-distanced grandstand seats.
- Social distancing will be in place for all grandstand seats and encouraged for fans at all times.
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitation will be conducted in high-touch, high-traffic public areas.
- Hand-sanitizer stations will be available to guests throughout the facility.
- Focused reminders to mask up following the conclusion of the race while exiting the facility.
The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on September 19.