NASCAR returning to action remains TBD, but five North Carolina senators are calling on Governor Roy Cooper to allow races at Charlotte Motor Speedway without fans.
Friday, NASCAR officially postponed race weekend at Martinsville Speedway scheduled for early May. In its statement, NASCAR said there could be a potential return to racing without fans in attendance in May, but the location had not been determined.
Charlotte is the next scheduled venue on the schedule. The All-Star Race is on May 16 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. Both the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series are also scheduled to compete at the speedway during those two weeks.
N.C. Sen. Todd Johnson (R-Union) County shared a press release Sunday morning expressing how racing at Charlotte without fans would mean that Gov. Cooper would have to amend his executive orders. The state is under stay-at-home rules through April 29, and teams have not been able to work in their race shops. The order also bans gatherings of more than 10 people.
“People are going stir-crazy with very few live sports underway, and allowing NASCAR racing in Charlotte would be a good first step toward returning to some semblance of normalcy,” said Johnson. “Gov. Cooper should permit fan-less racing.”
The other senators are Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell), and Carl Ford (R-Rowan).
“Other states have already adopted this policy, and Gov. Cooper should allow North Carolina to follow suit,” said Sen. Harrington.
Earlier this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said people are starved for content and that if NASCAR were able to hold a televised race without a crowd, “I think that’s a good thing.” Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of the tracks that had its events postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“NASCAR has already demonstrated it can safely run races without fans while practicing social distancing,” said Sen. Newton. “Gov. Cooper should allow racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Said Sen. Sawyer, “We should be looking at every safe example of a way to partially re-open society, and fan-less NASCAR racing seems like a simple step that Gov. Cooper can take right now.”
And Sen. Ford said, “Opening Charlotte Motor Speedway to races without fans is a measured, practical step that can be taken now, and I urge the Governor to do so.”
NASCAR has repeatedly stated its intention to run all 36 races this season. The Cup Series ran four races at the beginning of the season before the shutdown and has so far had eight races postponed.