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Dover International Speedway readies for NASCAR weekend without fans

Delaware Public Media

The Dover International Speedway hosts its busiest NASCAR race weekend ever this week, but it will also be a bit quieter than usual.


Due to COVID-19, Miles the Monster won’t let anyone watch the race in person this year.


Coronavirus concerns prompted state officials to bar the Monster Mile from hosting any fans to watch the six races planned over three days starting Friday.


Assistant Vice President of Marketing Gary Camp says the track usually spends the whole year preparing the party that arrives when NASCAR rolls into town.


“To not be hosting fans is a little surreal to be honest. Usually this week when I drive into work there’s a lot of energy in and around town. Fans are arriving, NASCAR industry is arriving, the haulers are here, there’s a buzz that’s definitely missing this year”


According to Dover Motorsports 2019 financial report, the speedway made around 2.5 million dollars in admission revenue each race weekend last year. Camp says the lack of fans could only add to the economic downturn seen from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The speedway has already lost a lot of revenue from the cancellation of the Firefly Music Festival this year. 


The company made only $110,000 in the second quarter. Last year, they made almost 25 million.


But Camp says there’s still an air of excitement at the track.


“Six races is unprecedented.  We haven’t had a doubleheader like that ever. We’re excited to see all of that competition on the track. We’ll be broadcast live of course on TV for fans at home.”


Camp adds fans are discouraged from coming to the Monster Mile this weekend, as it’s impossible to see inside the track from the outside.


Despite the absence of fans from the grandstands, the Dover International Speedway has its hands full with the huge logistical challenge of not only running two races a day for three days straight, but managing all the staff and NASCAR officials amid the pandemic.


This weekend’s six races in 3 days at Dover starts Friday.  It features two NASCAR Cup Series - starting at 4pm Saturday and Sunday

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.