CHARLOTTE — NASCAR is moving the 2020 All-Star race out of Charlotte as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, according to NASCAR.
The race, which had been rescheduled to run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on July 15, will now be held at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. NASCAR is set to allow up to 30,000 fans at the track.
Charlotte has hosted every All-Star race, except one, since 1985. But, NASCAR said the spike in COVID-19 cases across the state is forcing them out of the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Officials said the data surrounding the pandemic makes Bristol a better choice for fan access because Tennessee isn’t seeing that same trending.
“The NASCAR All-Star Race is an event known for making history, and we will enhance that legacy by hosting the event at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith said in a release.
“While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer,” Smith added.
Losing the race is a huge economic blow to the Charlotte area, particularly after the Republican National Convention moved to Florida.
The race brings in millions of dollars, not just tickets and concessions, but also area restaurants, hotels and shopping.
“We are excited to take one of the most unique races in our sport to one of the most unique race tracks in our sport,” NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O’Donnell said in a release. “Bristol Motor Speedway puts on classic short-track action every time we race there, and we’re anticipating an elevated level of intensity for the NASCAR All-Star Race.”
The race at the world’s fastest half-mile will include a limited number of fans in attendance and will air at 7 p.m.
The health protocols in Bristol will be finalized with guidance from public health officials and medical experts.