Bristol Motor Speedway and local officials unveiled a logo for the NASCAR All-Star Race on the countdown clock in front of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce building on Wednesday.
The sign points out there is less than four weeks until the race will be coming to Bristol after all but one of the 35 previous All-Star events were in Charlotte. The race is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15 at 7 p.m.
“This is huge for Bristol. You think about putting an all-star event in any sport in a community, it’s years of planning and putting together bid packages and committees to convince the sanctioning body,” said Jerry Caldwell, BMS executive vice president and general manager. “We have been given this gift that dropped in our laps.
“It’s a tremendous honor and a testament to the team at Bristol and Speedway Motorsports. It’s good for NASCAR as a whole that we can be nimble enough to do this for the fans.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Sullivan County officials have allowed up to 30,000 fans to attend.
“It’s an opportunity to show the world we can do things in a disciplined way,” Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable said. “Our results in East Tennessee and Sullivan County have been great, and that’s because our people are using good sense. People understand what they need to do to protect themselves, and people my age know they’re more vulnerable. As long as people use common sense, we will be fine.”
The speedway is working with state, local and federal officials on modified event procedures and protocols. Those include social distancing in the grandstands and limited guests in the suites. Infield access will be limited to race team and operation personnel only.
“We have a place that allows social distancing within groups of fans,” Caldwell said. “That’s the beauty of having a facility that holds 155,000-plus people. We can put 30,000 in it and space them out well.”
Drivers eligible to compete in the All-Star Race are winners from the 2019 or 2020 seasons, previous All-Star Race winners and former Cup Series champions who are full-time competitors.
The final four spots in the All-Star Race field will be reserved for the two stage winners and race winner from the All-Star Open as well as the winner of the All-Star Fan Vote. Details of the race format are yet to be released by NASCAR.
Talks of moving the All-Star Race to Bristol have been on-going for two decades. The COVID-19 shutdown has given NASCAR the opportunity to do it.
“It has been talked about forever,” Caldwell said. “You think of the other events like dirt (racing at Bristol), the (Battle at Bristol) football game, those events have been talked about for years. They happened and people continue to talk about them. This will be one of those events, almost folklore status.”