Jun. 2—TALLADEGA — When NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway in October, all the fans can, too.
The track announced today that it will be full open to 100 percent capacity for its trio of NASCAR races Oct. 2-3.
"This is the day we have been waiting for since the world changed in March of last year," Talladega Superspeedway President Brian Crichton said today. "For us, it's like we've got four cars coming through the tri-oval at 200 miles per hour nose-to-nose-to-nose-to-nose."
The schedule includes the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Oct. 2 at noon. The NASCAR Xfinity Series race will be later that day at 3:30 p.m. The Cup Series YellaWood 500 will be Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. These are all playoff races, so a victory in any of them qualifies the driver for the next round.
Talladega is one of six tracks that are set to announce today NASCAR has approved their re-opening to 100 percent capacity, when local and state governments allow it. Alabama's public health order expired May 31, and the state of emergency is set to expire July 6.
The other five tracks are Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR announced in May that three tracks could open at 100 percent capacity: Kansas Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Darlington Raceway.
Talladega has run three races during the pandemic with restricted attendance. On June 22, 2020, the GEICO 500 ran at Talladega with 5,000 fans in the stands, and that has gradually increased.
The stands at Talladega seat about 80,000, and capacity for the most recent race — the GEICO 500 on April 25 — was about 35 percent.
"It's an inside joke here that we'll need to re-learn what it's like to have a race at full capacity," Crichton said, laughing. "But, we are ready, and there are things we learned during the pandemic that we'll continue to do to make the facility safe."
Asked for an example, Crichton said, "Constant cleaning."
"Wiping down all the high-touch surfaces," he said. "Making sure everything is clean and safe for the fans."
In a news release, Talladega Superspeedway listed provided a list of everything that will be open now:
—Frontstretch towers and grandstands
—Talladega Garage Experience on Saturday and Sunday
—Access to Garage Viewing Walkways, pre-race ceremonies and Victory Lane. (Because of the Saturday doubleheader schedule, pre-race access for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race is still to be determined.)
—The Saturday Night Infield Concert, although the artist will be announced later
—Hospitality areas such as fan suites, premium box seating and Busch Balcony
—Reserved RV campgrounds in infield and outside venue (no spacing restrictions and no longer limited to six people per site)
—Reserved tent camping
—Space available in three outside free campgrounds
—Shower facilities will be open and regularly sanitized
—Interactive displays in The Midway outside the frontstretch
"Since 1969, our incredible fans have helped shaped Talladega Superspeedway into what it is today — an experience like no other," Crichton added in a prepared statement. "Nowhere is the passion in any sport felt more than it is at Talladega, and we have hundreds of thousands of fans from over the years to thank for that.
"Camping here is iconic, and the Talladega Garage Experience featuring Big Bill's has set the tone for the future with a fun, unrivaled experience. In June of 2020, we helped our sport bring a limited number of fans back to the track after the pandemic started. Now, we are ready to welcome back all our fans, and new guests to the sport as well. It's just plain fun for the entire family, coupled with the most exciting, competitive racing on the planet. Talladega Superspeedway is back."
To see all admission options for the YellaWood 500 and the Saturday doubleheader, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go-DEGA.
Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.