Bristol Motor Speedway had 162,000 empty seats on Sunday during the NASCAR Cup Series race
In August 1982, Bristol Motor Speedway had their first sellout. The track continued to expand, adding seats until fall 2002.
Along the way, the track had sellout after sellout. In 28 consecutive years, the race was soldout and there was a waiting list, just to get the opportunity just to buy tickets.
The track hasn’t had a sellout since 2010. But, the greatest moments within the The Last Great Colosseum over the years have still very much been encouraged by the shouting and sometimes angry race fans.
When Carl Edwards spun Kyle Busch. Kevin Harvick jumped over Greg Biffle’s car in victory lane to grab him by the neck. Jeff Gordon pushed on Matt Kenseth while his helmet remained on. The list is endless. But, each of those moments were spawned as fans screamed and the roars echoed off the aluminum seating to encourage it.
Today, Bristol Motor Speedway has a seating capacity for 162,000 race fans. On Sunday, only 40 of them were used, for the spotters of the race teams.
Fans aren’t currently allowed at NASCAR tracks. That’s been the case since the sport returned on May 17th at Darlington Raceway.
Clint Bowyer on NASCAR fans not being allowed at the track
“It’s starting to bother me,” Clint Bowyer responded to a question from Jeff Gluck.
“We’re starting to see other racing, fans in the stands and social distancing. This is such a special place.”
“A place like Bristol… Honestly, it’s the first time I really felt like, ‘Man, it’s empty.’ “
“I kinda felt that empty feeling. Even racing out there, you can feel the vibe.”
“That deal with the No. 9 and the No. 22. You get out of the car right there and this place would have been standing on end. It would have erupted.”
“Without that, it’s kinda like, ‘Well, I guess we’ll go home.’ “
“So, I’m ready to have fans back is what I’m saying. I think it’s time.”
Darlington, Charlotte, Bristol and now this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway are all confirmed to be run without fans.