Bowman Gray Stadium, which first hosted races in 1949 and witnessed some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, announced Thursday that it is canceling its season.
The move comes two days after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper extended the state’s Phase 2 reopening through Aug. 7. Mass gatherings are limited to 25 people outdoors during Phase 2. The state had a record 1,142 residents hospitalized because of coronavirus on Wednesday.
The track cited Gov. Cooper’s extension of Phase 2 and the uncertainty of what the future will be in deciding to not race this season.
The track stated:
“On July 14, Governor Cooper extended ‘Phase 2’ of COVID-19 restrictions for another three weeks until August 7. During this phase, events such as the racing at Bowman Gray Stadium are not permitted to have more than 25 spectators. We believe it is highly unlikely that Governor Cooper will significantly relax these restrictions in August or even September.
“Some professional sporting organizations may be holding events without fans. We, however, have no plans or desire to hold events without our fan base in the stands.
“This unprecedented situation has unfortunately forced us to cancel any plans for racing during the 2020 season. We have no plans to race in the fall or winter. We do not know how the COVID-19 situation will continue to evolve over the coming months, but we are planning to return to racing in the spring of 2021 – and we are hopeful that we will be able to do so at full capacity.
“Again, we are thankful for the patience and understanding of our fans, drivers, crew members, sponsors, officials, employees, friends, and family. We hope that everyone stays healthy and well during this time. We look forward to seeing you all again at the Madhouse in the spring of 2021.”
The track did not run a race this year.
Bowman Gray Stadium, NASCAR’s longest running weekly track, hosted NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson, Glen Wood, David Pearson, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook during their driving days. It is the track where NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Richard Childress sold peanuts in the stands before later racing at that track.
The track was started by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins.