NASCAR Cup race will run at Texas with fans in the stands

Eddie Gossage (R)
Eddie Gossage (R)

Texas Motor Speedway plans to welcome thousands of fans for a rescheduled NASCAR Cup Series race next month.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday approved a plan submitted by the track to allow spectators for for the race on July 19. The governor had previously said that outdoor sporting events could be held with 50% capacity.

Track President Eddie Gossage said it was still too early to know how many fans would be able to attend the race at the 1 1/2-mile track that has a capacity of about 135,000, including suites and the grandstands that stretch about 2/3 of a mile from end to end.

“We don’t know, because it depends," Gossage said.

With social distancing protocols in place, the speedway first has to reassign seating for people who had already purchased tickets for the race that was originally scheduled for March 29 before NASCAR paused its season due to the coronavirus. Gossage described that process as like doing a jigsaw puzzle. There are already 25,000-30,000 tickets out for the race, though fans can still request credit for future tickets or refunds.

“If everybody responds and wants to be seated two by two, that requires a lot more empty seats between them. If it’s groups of fours and sixes and eights, and things like that, then it’s a little denser," he said. “So I don’t know how many it will be. And we’re not focused on any number. We’re just wanting to seat everybody properly, socially distanced apart so that everybody is safe and has a good time."

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