Berlin Raceway needs fans present to have racing, waits to start season

NASCAR restarts May 17th with no fans
Posted at 3:06 PM, May 05, 2020
Racing season on hold at Berlin Raceway

The green flag is scheduled to drop once again on the NASCAR season May 17th at Darlington Raceway.

"It's going to get the itch going," Nick Rice, Berlin Raceway Director of Operations said. "I don't know if it's good for us. It's going to get people wanting to go."

There will be no fans in the stands when NASCAR hits the track at Darlington. NASCAR pulls in revenue from its television contract with FOX and NBC.

At local tracks that doesn't work. Berlin Raceway won't be able to race without fans present.

"At the grass roots level our business model is just not built that way," Rice said. "We don't have the TV money and marketing money to just run with no fans in the stands. We are really built around having entertainment with fans in the stands."

The next question becomes when will fans be able to go to the local tracks? Berlin realizes May is not an option, but could June work?

"Is there potential for us to put together our own social distancing plan based on the fact that we seat 10,000 people, we are an outdoor venue, our average crowd is about 3100," Rice pondered. "We could spread 3,000 people out over those grandstands and implement some sort of social distancing plan but we just don't know what that looks like or if that is possible."

New this year Berlin will have its races available on NBC Sports Gold, a subscription streaming service.

They expect they will race at some point this summer.

"I really feel like when this thing lifts and we get going, there is so much pent up energy people being in that I hope that they are ready to get out," Rice said. People that are high risk, having all of our races on NBC Sports, they are still going to be able to get a really good broadcast from us and still be able to be involved with racing but we hope the people that can come out still do come out."

For now the 70th season of racing at Berlin is on hold.