RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Coronavirus forced the cancellation of the 2020 race weekend at Richmond Raceway and forced the track to run its September events without fans. If the venue gets its way, at least some spectators will be permitted for this April’s scheduled races.
Richmond Raceway has put in a request to the governor’s office for approval of a plan to host some fans during the April 17 and April 18 festivities. Based on other tracks of similar sizes that have hosted fans, a capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 would align the Action Track with those.
“The first thing we’re looking at is the opportunity to get fans back in the venue,” Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. “We’re not sure where we’re going to land on that, we’ve made our request and are hoping for some direction.”
While we’re certainly not out of the woods yet in terms of the pandemic, Bickmeier and his staff are confident that the plan they put together will keep racegoers out of harm’s way, while allowing fans and drivers alike to enjoy spectators back inside the track’s grounds.
“We know we can do it safely and we don’t take that responsibility lightly,” the track president emphasized.
About two months remain before NASCAR returns to Richmond, and while Bickmeier understands that these things can take time, he also wants a chance to prepare the track for the arrival of a crowd, no matter how many people that might entail. In addition, he’d like the fans to have time to get ready, too.
“If we could put a percentage plan in place, then we can start planning on who’s able to get into the race and then what we need to do with the facility overall,” noted Bickmeier. “There’s a pathway that has to take place for all of that to happen. The communication with the fans is important because they need to understand what their requirements are for attending a live event as well.”
Seeing NASCAR faithful back on the premises is something teams and drivers are also looking forward to, especially in the days leading up to a race and pre-race festivities.
“Not having that, it just feels like you’re at a test session,” Martin Truex Jr. pointed out. “Obviously once you get in the car and they drop the green flag, things are back to normal feel because you’re so focused on what you’re doing, but all of those other things make the weekend feel a lot different.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race hits Richmond Raceway on April 17, with the Cup Series event on April 18.
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