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NASCAR fans to return after coronavirus pause, service members invited to Dixie Vodka 400

Thomas Barrabi

NASCAR will invite as many as 1,000 service members to attend its Cup Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, marking the first sporting event held with fans in attendance since the coronavirus pandemic forced an industrywide shutdown in mid-March.

The premier racing circuit unveiled its “plan to reintroduce guests” at two upcoming races with a host of safety features in place. The service members who attend Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be screened upon entry at the track, wear face masks and adhere to social distancing protocols, among other safety measures.

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“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for the responsibility that comes with integrating guests back into our events,” said NASCAR’s chief operations and sales officer Daryl Wolfe. “We believe implementing this methodical process is an important step forward for the sport and the future of live sporting events. The passion and unwavering support of our industry and fans is the reason we race each weekend and we look forward to slowly and responsibly welcoming them back at select events.”

NASCAR said it will invite service members from the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared sports an essential business in April, prompting several leagues to resume operations in the state.

“Miami-Dade County is proud to be the site of the return of NASCAR following COVID-19 closures across the nation earlier this year,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement. “Sunday’s race is a fitting tribute to our South Florida service members representing the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command.

“By following the public health protocols as we continue moving to a New Normal, NASCAR is ensuring that our military members and their families can enjoy the race in a safe way,” Gimenez added.

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NASCAR will admit as many as 5,000 fans to attend the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on June 21. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for fans who purchased seats for the originally scheduled event, which was due to run on April 26.

NASCAR resumed live racing without fans in attendance in mid-May. The circuit has held races across multiple states in recent days.

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