CHARLOTTE – Summer 2020 offered some tastes of normalcy in different pockets of the state, as some locales simply didn’t submit to the panic. But capacity restrictions were still tight, certain businesses still prohibited from opening, and the fear campaign was fully engaged.
Approaching summer 2021 is shaping up to be much different; capacity restrictions are gone, crowds are allowed, and even the mask mandate is lifted. And in North Carolina on Memorial Day weekend, that means NASCAR is in full effect.
Last year the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was held without fans; this year the stands were full of 50,000 screaming fans. They bought food, memorabilia, stayed in hotels, made memories with their kids, plugged their ears, and, in so doing, gave a boost to the local economy AND the local spirit.
Even better, a North Carolina team took the checkered flag. From WFAE:
“It just feels like we’re back,” car owner Rick Hendrick said Sunday night after his newest driver, Kyle Larson, who won the Coca-Cola 600 for the team’s record-setting 269th NASCAR victory.
Marcus Smith, CEO and president of Speedway Motorsports and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, said he spoke with so many spectators thrilled to watch a race in person, along with others who loved competing.
“They were thrilled to be back in what feels like a full-speed NASCAR race,” a smiling Smith said.
MAY 2020 MAY 2021 pic.twitter.com/ORE9njOzOl
— Charlotte Motor Speedway (@CLTMotorSpdwy) May 31, 2021
Wow. What a difference that makes.
Read more about NASCAR’s return to normal in North Carolina, and around the country, here.