The NASCAR All-Star Race is hitting the high banking of Bristol Motor Speedway. On Monday, NASCAR announced the exhibition race, currently scheduled for 15 July, will be moved from its traditional Charlotte Motor Speedway location to Bristol. It will be the short track’s first time hosting the event.
“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,” said Speedway Motorsports, Inc. head Marcus Smith.
For much of its history, the All-Star Race has been held in Charlotte a week before the Coca-Cola 600 in late May; the lone exception was in 1986, when Atlanta Motor Speedway instead hosted the race. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 edition was postponed to July.
The change was prompted as North Carolina has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. In the United States, deaths from the virus have reached over 117,000, a larger loss of American life than in World War I over a century ago. With social distancing measures in place, NASCAR is working with a gradual plan to ease the number of spectators allowed into the stands, with Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway allowing 1,000 military personnel and select figures while the upcoming Talladega Superspeedway event will invite 5,000 fans. The All-Star Race at Bristol will allow up to 30,000.
“While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer,” Smith added.
Bristol hosted the Cup Series‘ Supermarket Heroes 500 shortly after the season resumed in May, an event won by Brad Keselowski after a wild finish that took out leaders Chase Elliott and Joey Logano.
The announcement has proven to be popular among fans, many of whom have felt the product at Charlotte has unimpressed. The All-Star Race has typically been used as a guinea pig of sorts for NASCAR, experimenting with various packages that would eventually be implemented for points races, such as the current reduced horsepower setup.