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COVID-19 prompts NASCAR to move 2020 All-Star race out of Charlotte

A surge in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina is prompting NASCAR to move the All-star race out of Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2020 All-Star race will move from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Bristol Motor Speedway, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, NASCAR confirmed Monday.

The race was scheduled to be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, July 15. This will be the race's first time at Bristol Motor Speedway and will have fans in attendance at the facility for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It will also be NASCAR's first All-Star race on a short track.

This year marks just the second time the event has been run at a facility other than Charlotte Motor Speedway — Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the event in 1986.

“The NASCAR All-Star Race is an event known for making history, and we will enhance that legacy by hosting the event at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith said in a statement.  

Smith said Charlotte will continue to be recognized as the "birthplace and traditional home" for the All-Star Race, but the current status of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fans.

Smith has not yet committed to the All-Star race returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2021, saying scheduling for next year is still on pause. 

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Sullivan County officials are allowing up to 30,000 fans at the All-Star Race in Bristol.

Bristol Motor Speedway's plans for event procedures, protocols, and number of attendees have not yet been finalized, based on guidance from public health officials, medical experts, area officials, and NASCAR. 

Protocols will include social distancing in the grandstands and in concession lines, enhanced cleaning in high-touch, high-traffic public areas, added hand-sanitizer stations, limited guests in suites, and infield admission for race team and operation personnel only. 

Ticketholders for the originally scheduled event at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fans with other Speedway Motorsports ticket credits on file can utilize their credit for the July 15 race at and are asked to visit Charlotte Motor Speedway's website for details.

Tickets are otherwise now on sale. Those with Charlotte tickets can either use it for the Bristol race, or get a refund from Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Marcus Smith says the Bank of America ROVAL 400 this fall is on as scheduled — ticket sales are ahead of last year and the hope is there will be fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway by then.

NASCAR released it's updated 2020 due to the coronavirus, which includes the return of the NASCAR All-Star Open and ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150.

RELATED: NASCAR to allow limited number of fans at races

It has not been determined yet if fans will be able to attend these races in person. NASCAR's discussions with local and state health officials continue.

The ARCA Menards Series General Tire 150 is slated for 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, followed by the All-Star Open at 7:00 p.m. and the NASCAR All-Star Race at approximately 8:30 p.m. All three races will be broadcast on FS1.

An official announcement is expected later Monday evening. 

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