Daytona International Speedway has said it is planning for around 30,000 fans to be in attendance for the showpiece Daytona 500.

This year’s edition of the 500 will take place on February 14 as the NASCAR series’ 2021 calendar swings into action, and will be the first with COVID-19 planning factored in. The Speedway, which holds 101,500 spectators and doesn’t announce official attendance numbers, stated in December that the number of fans allowed to attend would be limited due to the pandemic.

Speedway president Chip Wile has now confirmed to the Daytona Beach News-Journal that around 30% capacity would be permitted in the grandstands, plus around a few thousand more in the infield. “It’s going to be the largest sporting event that happens in the United States since COVID hit,” said Wile. 

Fans were in attendance over the weekend as the Speedway opened the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Limited fans were permitted in the grandstands and infield, while other protocols, which will be repeated for the 500 weekend, included health screenings, temperature checks, and required face-coverings.

Wile said: “We’ve been abiding by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines with the six-foot radius in the seats. We’re abiding by every state and federal regulation to ensure the safety of our fans.”

Tickets for the Daytona 500 through the Speedway’s official website are already sold out, with the cheapest available through StubHub priced at $269 (£196/€222) at 2:30pm GMT today (Monday).

Image: ZiggyBattle9/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size