Texas committed to NASCAR weekend amidst local state of emergency

by Justin Nguyen

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the world, Texas Motor Speedway remains committed to their upcoming NASCAR weekend on 27–29 March. On Saturday morning, the track released a statement saying the slate is “still on schedule”, despite Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price declaring a public health emergency on Friday.

“We are aware the mayor of Fort Worth declared a state of emergency effective March 14,” the statement read. “We continue to work closely with the city. Our NASCAR event is still on schedule for March 27-29.”

Fort Worth, where the track is located, was placed under such conditions on Friday as the Tarrant County and Dallas-Fort Worth area began seeing coronavirus cases spring up. Price’s proclamation outlines a state of emergency that will run for at least seven days starting Saturday, with one of its clauses stating it “limits the size of gatherings to no more than 250 people and mandates the cancellation of all such gatherings until further notice.”

The Texas race weekend, which consists of a tripleheader of the Cup, Xfinity, and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, begins six days after the week-long emergency is expected to be lifted, assuming no further cases. The Fort Worth City Council will reconvene to vote on whether to extend the declaration next Saturday.

Prior to Price’s announcement, Tarrant County judge Glen Whitley announced a seven-day disaster situation to allow officials to develop an emergency management strategy. Similar declarations were also made at the state and national level by Texas governor Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump. Trump’s national emergency announcement on Friday came hours after NASCAR announced the next two race weekends at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway would be indefinitely postponed, effectively freezing the NASCAR season after just four races.

On Thursday, Bristol Motor Speedway also reaffirmed its NASCAR weekend, scheduled to take place after Texas, will continue as planned.

“There are no changes to our NASCAR race weekend schedule April 2 – 5,” said a Bristol statement. “Bristol Motor Speedway is working closely with our state and local health officials in preparation for our events.”

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