Fans are allowed in the stands for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, marking the first time Texans have been allowed to attend a professional sporting event since the COVID-19 shutdown happened.
NASCAR has the green light to admit up to 67,000 spectators at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday's race, which is 50 percent of the speedway's capacity.
A number of safety measures were in place, including mandatory face masks.
Social distancing markers are in place, every other restroom stall is marked off, and fans are given assigned seats to separate groups.
Individual hand sanitizers will be handed out to every fan, as well as iced down towels to combat the heat.
“When you go to the reserved seat and sit there, they won't be anywhere near another group and I’ll be honest with you, seeing the video on television and what not, the place is so big, you'll think it's empty,” TMS President Eddie Gossage said. “Because there just won't be many people there Sunday. We weren't trying to set an attendance record, we just wanted to offer fans an option.”
It was easy to see social distancing in the stands. Some areas were completely closed off.
“This is my first NASCAR race,” Jessica Cheatham said. “I mean, I don’t want to stay home. I think this is a great opportunity for everyone to come together and support NASCAR.”
But for now, it was a slice of what racing fans are used to seeing, with some extra measures in place to keep fans safe.
“You know, stay away from others without your face covering. It’s kind of a two prong thing to protect yourself and to protect others from you,” Keith Vance said.