The Daytona 200 roadrace and the Daytona TT flat track race will run in front of empty bleachers, organizers said today.
The Daytona 200 and the Daytona TT are both high-profile events in the US racing calendar, and this weekend, they were set to run as a doubleheader for the first time ever. But now, the grandstands will be empty. Of course, the reason is an emphasis on “social distancing” in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 scare, as health authorities urge people to avoid large gatherings in order to slow the spread of the sickness.
According to a press release, “After consultation between series and track officials, American Flat Track will hold its doubleheader race event on Saturday, March 14 at Daytona International Speedway without fans in attendance. This event will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race … Advance ticket holders are offered equivalent admission for any other AFT Events race occurring within the next 18 calendar months … The event will continue to live stream on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold with the DAYTONA 200 presented by CoMoto Opening Ceremonies beginning at 10:20 a.m. ET (7:20 a.m. PT) and DAYTONA TT at 4:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. PT). The same-day NBCSN telecast of the DAYTONA TT will air Saturday, March 14 beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. PT) on NBCSN.”
However, Roadracing World is reporting the Speedway will honour camping passes for the weekend, and fans can watch (or at least try to watch) the races from their campsites. As well, they’re looking at setting up a jumbotron-type screen for fans to watch the race at an off-site location, which might not make any more sense than packing them into the stands, if you think about it.
But, officials do seem to be figuring this out on the fly, and it seems there’s more changes to come yet in the race season, and maybe even for Daytona as Bike Week rolls on. For now, even the media are banned from the garage and pits at the Speedway.