After a 2020 season where COVID-19 forced all but four NASCAR Cup Series races to be held at reduced fan capacity, tracks reopened for business in a big way in 2021. Aside from the early months of the season, tracks operated at maximum capacity, which was a welcome sight for anyone who loves the sport to behold. Unfortunately, as COVID cases rose during the summer months, many tracks began limiting fan access to the infield and to the drivers in general.
But, thankfully, the show went on as scheduled and COVID had very little impact on the competition side of things. Many fans who hadn’t been to a racetrack since 2019 returned to the grandstands, and drivers — on many occasions — thanked the fans for coming out and talked about how much they enjoyed seeing fans back at the track. The final race of the 2021 Cup season, held at Phoenix Raceway in Arizona, was a sellout. So from a fan participation and engagement standpoint, the season couldn’t have ended on a stronger note.
With COVID cases now on the decline again throughout much of the United States, expect all tracks to operate at full capacity for the duration of the 2022 season, beginning with February’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, which was only able to host a limited number of spectators for the 2021 Daytona 500. Seeing a full house at Daytona for the sport’s biggest race will be a positive way to kick off 2022 and build momentum for the season.