Food City 500 weekend, Kingsport Speedway opener postponed

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 16, 2020 at 8:13 PM

Bristol Motor Speedway announced Monday evening the Food City 500 race weekend scheduled for April 3-5 has been postponed until a later date to be announced.

It came minutes after a statement from NASCAR that all national series events will be postponed through May 3, with plans to return to racing May 8-9 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

BMS officials announced in their press release, they will work closely with NASCAR on a rescheduled date, while maintaining contact with local and federal government for the latest information on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“What truly makes Bristol Motor Speedway special is not only the exciting racing, but the incredible family reunion feel that exists when all of our fans, guests, community members and businesses come together for a race weekend,” Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, said in a release. “That’s why I support NASCAR’s decision to postpone our NASCAR spring event to a later date.

“The health and safety of everyone who attends races at Bristol Motor Speedway is our top priority and this step has been taken so that everyone can follow the recommended guidelines as advised by government officials.”

The release stated that ticketholders on file at the track and Food City stores may use their tickets for the postponed event, choose to receive an event credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20 percent or choose to receive a full refund of their purchase price.

It added that credit for the weekend can be applied towards any admissions, infield tickets, camping, fan hospitality and pit passes at any remaining 2020 or 2021 NASCAR events at any Speedway Motorsports track, subject to availability.

That includes the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol and other SMI tracks, which includes Charlotte, Atlanta, Kentucky, Texas, New Hampshire and Sonoma.

Texas Motor Speedway, which was scheduled to host the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on March 27-29, released a similar statement.


Kingsport Speedway also made an announcement to postpone Saturday’s scheduled season opener due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move came on the heels of Governor Bill Lee declaring a state of emergency in Tennessee and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discouraging mass gatherings of over 50 people.

“The well-being of our staff, fans, race teams and other stakeholders is our utmost priority, said Karen Tunnell, general manager at Kingsport Speedway. “While we certainly don’t want to postpone the first race of the season, we feel it is the best thing to do at this time.”

Track officials said details about other racing events will be released soon.


The National Hot Rod Association also released a statement the sanctioning body was suspending all NHRA drag racing for 30 days in response to the pandemic.

It includes events at all NHRA-owned tracks and any NHRA-sanctioned events such as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Plans at the time are to resume the schedule on April 17-19 in Houston.

As with the other racing organizations, the NHRA promised to monitor the situation closely and listen to the health experts.

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