Texas governor pushing for crowd-free NASCAR race at TMS

Nigel Kinrade/Motorsport Images

Texas governor pushing for crowd-free NASCAR race at TMS


Texas governor pushing for crowd-free NASCAR race at TMS


NASCAR still has not released an updated or tentative schedule for a return to racing, but many are hoping it is sooner rather than later.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is the latest to comment, via Twitter, writing Monday afternoon that he has spoken to “NASCAR leaders” about racing at Texas Motor Speedway, host of one of the eight Cup Series events postponed so far by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They’re working to return to Texas at Texas Motor Speedway very soon,” said Abbott. “I hope to announce the exciting details in the near future. To prevent spread of COVID-19, it will be without fans. But they will put on a great show for TV.”

Track president Eddie Gossage responded with his own statement:

“Texas Governor Greg Abbott has given NASCAR the green flag to race, and our sport is eager to get back on track. Texas Motor Speedway will work aggressively with the sanctioning bodies and TV networks to give American society, as well as people around the world, a positive distraction during this crisis.

“A non-spectator event is not perfect because in our sport, the fans come first. But circumstances are such that this is a novel answer for the return of the sport for now. We are working on a hard date.

“Our sport is unique because the competitors are inside the race cars with no body-to-body contact like most other sports. That is a distinct advantage over other sports and why you will likely see auto racing as the first live sport returning to action. We appreciate the Governor’s support for the return of racing at Texas Motor Speedway very soon. He’s been to the races before and has been an admirable leader throughout this crisis.”

Over the weekend, five North Carolina Republican senators called for Gov. Roy Cooper to allow racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway without fans. However, racing at either Texas or Charlotte would mean that Gov. Cooper would have to amend his stay-at-home orders to allow race teams back into their shops.

North Carolina is under stay-at-home orders through April 29.

The spokesman for Gov. Cooper, Ford Porter, offered this statement on Monday:

“Governor Cooper knows the importance of NASCAR to our state, and he’s already been talking with track and team owners about how we could potentially restart racing. It’s too soon to predict specific decisions about future sporting events, but any plan would prioritize public health and safety and preventing spread of the virus.”