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Food City 500 weekend, Kingsport opener postponed

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 16, 2020 at 7:40 PM

The Food City 500 race weekend scheduled for April 3-5 at Bristol Motor Speedway has been postponed, track officials said Monday.

The announcement came minutes after NASCAR said all its of national events through May 3 had been postponed. Racing is tentatively planned to resume May 8-9 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

“We intend to hold all 36 races this season, with future rescheduling soon to be determined as we continue to monitor this situation closely with public health officials and medical experts,” the NASCAR statement said. “What is important now transcends the world of sports and our focus is on everyone’s safety and well-being as we navigate this challenging time together.”

BMS officials said they will work closely with NASCAR on a rescheduled date while staying in contact with local and federal government officials concerning the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“What truly makes Bristol Motor Speedway special is not only the exciting racing, but the incredible family reunion feel that exists when all of our fans, guests, community members and businesses come together for a race weekend,” Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, said in a release. “That’s why I support NASCAR’s decision to postpone our NASCAR spring event to a later date.

“The health and safety of everyone who attends races at Bristol Motor Speedway is our top priority and this step has been taken so that everyone can follow the recommended guidelines as advised by government officials.”

Ticket-holders on file at the track and Food City stores may use their tickets for the postponed event, receive an event credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20%, or  receive a full refund of the purchase price, officials said. The credit for the weekend may be applied toward any admissions, infield tickets, camping, fan hospitality and pit passes at any remaining 2020 or 2021 NASCAR events at any Speedway Motorsports track, subject to availability. That list includes the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol as well as races at SMI tracks Charlotte, Atlanta, Kentucky, Texas, New Hampshire and Sonoma.

Texas Motor Speedway, scheduled to host the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on March 27-29, released a similar statement.

KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY

Kingsport Speedway also announced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled season opener.

Gov. Bill Lee last week declared a state of emergency in Tennessee, and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is discouraging gatherings of over 50 people.

“The well-being of our staff, fans, race teams and other stakeholders is our utmost priority,” said Karen Tunnell, general manager at Kingsport Speedway. “While we certainly don’t want to postpone the first race of the season, we feel it is the best thing to do at this time.”

Officials said details concerning other track events will be released soon.

NHRA

The NHRA announced a 30-day suspension of racing in response to the pandemic.

Events impacted include those at all NHRA-owned tracks and any NHRA-sanctioned events such as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Plans at this time are to resume the schedule on April 17-19 in Houston.

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