State says no to fans in the stands for Dover’s NASCAR weekend

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The State of Delaware has turned down plans that called for fans to attend NASCAR weekend races at Dover International Speedway.

While the six races at The Monster Mile will move forward, state officials did not approve the track’s request to host a limited number of fans. Cited was a rising number of coronavirus cases around the county.

Most sporting events have been held this year without fans. However, NASCAR has received the go-ahead in some states to allow fans to attend.

The decision is expected to draw fire, since the Delaware State Fair was allowed to make its 10-day run, with attendance limits and no big-name grandstand acts.

Politics may enter into the discussion with all states that have barred race attendance have Democratic governors.

Florida and its GOP governor will allow races at Daytona to go forward, despite a severe outbreak in portions of the state.

Delaware has a below-average rate of positive cases, but has not been able to see its metrics drop below those of states like New Jersey and New York.

The state is now investigating a potential outbreak tied to members of a Dover church testing positive. (See link to story at the bottom of this post.

The weekend will bring hundreds of people to Kent County, due to the lengthy racing schedule, but not the crowds that came on previous NASCAR weekends.

“We submitted a comprehensive plan to state officials outlining our planned procedures and protocols for keeping our fans safe throughout our August race weekend,” said Mike Tatoian, Dover International Speedway’s CEO. “Unfortunately, due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, the decision was made to not allow fans. We understand it, and while we are disappointed, we also realize that we need to err on the side of caution and yield to the opinions of public health experts to help reduce the further spread of Covid-19.”

Dover ticket holders for August have several options for their ticket funds, including a full refund or moving funds (including an extra 20 percent bonus) to Dover’s 2021 NASCAR weekend. The long-running second weekend of races has been moved to the parent company’s track near Nashville.

Fans can visit DoverSpeedway.com/exchange to register their preference or call (800) 441-RACE to reach a ticket office representative to review their accounts and options. Fans are asked for their patience, as higher-than-normal call volume is expected in the coming days and weeks.

Race schedule

The Aug. 21-23 NASCAR weekend includes the “Drydene Doubleheader Weekend” on Aug. 22-23, featuring a NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader each day, with all four races on NBCSN.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, the “Drydene 200” NASCAR Xfinity Series race takes the green flag at 12:30 p.m., followed by the “Drydene 311” NASCAR Cup Series race at 4 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 23, the “Drydene 200” NASCAR Xfinity Series race begins at 1 p.m., followed by the “Drydene 311” NASCAR Cup Series race at 4 p.m.

On Friday, Aug. 21, the “General Tire 125” ARCA Menards Series East race begins at 2 p.m., followed by the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at 5 p.m. (FS1).

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