Organizers expect as many as 25,000 fans at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth as NASCAR returns to North Texas with a series of races at Texas Motor Speedway, culminating with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday.
Sunday’s race is being billed as the first major sporting event open to fans in Texas since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The first two races on Saturday will be without spectators.
The race was originally scheduled for late March, but was forced to be rescheduled when Texas Governor Greg Abbott ushered in a statewide shutdown of business and entertainment venues.
Fans who attend this weekend’s races will be greeted by no fewer than 2,000 signs to promote social distancing at ticket gates, concession stands, restrooms, and more, according to a news release from the media relations department at Texas Motor Speedway.
In addition to the signage, staff at Texas Motor Speedway plan a thorough, “deep cleaning” over the weekend to help ensure the safety of all attendees.
As a condition of attending the races, all fans will be required to sign a waiver that acknowledges their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and clears the track of any liability.
Organizers said anyone who is worried about the virus, especially older people with pre-existing medical conditions, should stay out home.
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"If you're concerned, then don't come," said TMS General Manager Eddie Gossage. "Turn on the TV and enjoy the race. We're not twisting anybody's arms."
The track is located on the north side of the city of Fort Worth in Denton County.
A spokeswoman for Denton County Judge Andy Eads said the county didn't have any concerns about the large gathering.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price's office issued a statement of support.
"Mayor Price has been in communication with Eddie Gossage and is confident the appropriate precautions and measures are in place to ensure everyone's health and safety," it said.