NC Senators Call on Cooper to allow NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway without fans

CHARLOTTE – Social distancing trends and orders shutdown sporting events in the U.S. weeks ago, but as pushback against the social distancing orders continues to grow, five North Carolina Senators are calling on the governor to allow for one of North Carolina’s pastimes to resume without fans.

Sens. Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), Todd Johnson (R-Union), Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell), and Carl Ford (R-Rowan) want Gov. Cooper to partially reopen Charlotte Motor Speedway in time for the Memorial Day race.

From Independent Tribune:

“[…] Harrington said, “Other states have already adopted this policy, and Gov. Cooper should allow North Carolina to follow suit.”

Sen. Newton said, “NASCAR has already demonstrated it can safely run races without fans while practicing social distancing. Gov. Cooper should allow racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”

Sen. Johnson said, “People are going stir-crazy with very few live sports underway, and allowing NASCAR racing in Charlotte would be a good first step toward returning to some semblance of normalcy. Gov. Cooper should permit fan-less racing.”

Sen. Sawyer said, “We should be looking at every safe example of a way to partially reopen society, and fan-less NASCAR racing seems like a simple step that Gov. Cooper can take right now.”

Sen. Ford said, “Opening Charlotte Motor Speedway to races without fans is a measured, practical step that can be taken now, and I urge the Governor to do so.” […]”

NASCAR was born in the Old North State, and there’s no good reason to postpone or cancel the North Carolina races when reasonable alternatives exist to mitigate risks from coronavirus. Cooper’s sweeping decree, however, means that he must amend his order to allow the fan-less race to take place.

It’s a little ironic that a sport infamously born out of bootleggers using fast cars to evade the enforcement of draconian prohibition era laws, is now reduced to asking the governor if they can please have a race. A little sad that letting people decide for themselves how to deal with the risk, and open it to fans, is apparently too big an ask.

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