The NASCAR Cup Series season continues on Sunday with a trip to Kansas Speedway, but another track is creating headlines. Atlanta Motor Speedway, the home of July’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart NASCAR weekend, announced that the stands will be full of fans.
The track officials announced the news on Friday morning while celebrating the first July race at AMS in 47 years. The press release explained that the number of vaccinations and the relaxed public health restrictions have set the stage for full fan attendance at the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races.
“As we’ve seen millions across Georgia and the Southeast get vaccinated, public health restrictions have eased and that gives us the green flag to take a big step towards welcoming more people to enjoy race weekend,” said AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison in a press release. “Needless to say, we can’t wait to have thousands of fans join us for some thrilling NASCAR action this summer.”
Track officials will continue to utilize health and safety protocols
Along with the announcement that AMS will feature fully packed stands, the track officials noted that there will be several health and safety protocols in effect during the race weekend. There will be expanded access to hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations, cashless payments, mobile ticketing, and a clear bag policy to limit contact between fans and staff.
Several tracks implemented these procedures in the later stages of the 2020 season and into 2021 as fans began returning to tracks around the country. Tracks such as Bristol Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Daytona International Speedway all used these measures in order to have fans back in the stands and cheering for their favorite drivers. Although they were smaller in number.
News of the fan attendance policy will create excitement among NASCAR drivers. Many have mentioned in the past year that the races are eerie without jam-packed stands, especially prior to the green flag or during delays. Bubba Wallace, Corey LaJoie, and others have spent time in the past throwing footballs to the fans or interacting with them in other ways. Now they are moving one step closer to doing so once again.
Ryan Blaney will try to win his second race at AMS in 2021
The last time the NASCAR Cup Series headed to AMS was for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 in March. Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson dominated during the race, jumping out to an early lead. He continued to hold the advantage over the other drivers, leading a total of 269 laps, but he did not take the checkered flag.
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Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney passed Larson late in the race using a crossover move, and he did not give the lead back. The driver of the No. 12 Ford Mustang continued to pull away from his peer for the remaining laps, first taking the white flag and then capping off his day with a win. Blaney locked up a spot in the playoffs and added 57 points to his total.
Blaney does not have a large number of starts at AMS, but he has performed well during his recent trips to the Georgia track. Along with his win from March, he also finished fourth during the 2020 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Now Blaney will aim to turn in another strong performance at a fully-packed venue.
First, however, Blaney will join his fellow Cup Series drivers in Kansas for the Buschy McBusch Race 400. The race will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET with Fox Sports 1 providing coverage. Blaney will start the race on the fourth row next to Christopher Bell, the winner of the Daytona Road Course race in February.
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