Thursday, August 18, 2022

Fans to return to Texas Motor Speedway for NASCAR race in July

Blur of the field racing through Turn 1 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 6, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images, courtesy of Texas Motor Speedway.

Gov. Greg Abbott approved on Friday a comprehensive action plan to allow fans to attend the NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in southern Denton County next month.

It’ll be the first major league sports event in Texas open to fans since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Texans are eager for sporting and entertainment events to return, and this is a great step towards that goal,” Abbott said. “As we continue to open Texas, it is essential that we do so in a way that keeps Texans safe and limits the spread of COVID-19. Texas Motor Speedway has put a tremendous amount of work, time, and energy into ensuring that this race meets all the necessary safety and health standards, and I applaud them for this effort.”

The grandstands and suites at No Limits, Texas will be open to race fans, subject to social distancing requirements and additional protocols, according to a news release from TMS, including enhanced cleaning and sanitation in high-touch, high-traffic areas, additional hand sanitizer stations, limited guests in suites and infield admission for race team and operation personnel only.

“As with any public event or gathering, I urge all Texans to make smart decisions to protect their health, including wearing a face mask, washing their hands, and practicing social distancing,” Abbott said. “Texans are excited for NASCAR and are ready to return to the grandstands, and I thank Texas Motor Speedway for making sure that we do this in a safe and smart way.”

Fans will be allowed to bring food and unopened beverages in a soft-sided clear bag no larger than 14x14x14 inches, according to TMS. Standard coolers will be prohibited to limit interpersonal contact at security checkpoints. Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR will continue to adapt and improve procedures to ensure they are effective and can be scaled to support increasing the number of fans in the future.

“Governor Abbott continues to lead the charge in returning live sports competition to Texas so we’re very appreciative of everything he and his staff, as well as NASCAR, have done to work with us in allowing fans at Texas Motor Speedway for the July 19 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500,” said Eddie Gossage, President and General Manager of Texas Motor Speedway. “Safety remains the primary focus for everyone who takes part in the weekend events, from fans to competitors, officials and track staff, so we continue to work with federal and state officials to comply with both Texas and CDC recommendations and requirements.”

The O’Reilly Auto Parks 500 weekend was originally scheduled for March 27-29, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.  It was recently rescheduled for July 18-19.

On July 18, the NASCAR Xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300 and the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Vankor 350 will be run as non-spectator events. Each race will be run without practice or qualifying sessions and the starting lineups based on a draw system.

Click here for a comprehensive list of answers to frequently asked questions about the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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