June 16 (UPI) -- NASCAR has moved the July 15 Cup Series All-Star Race from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Bristol Motor Speedway and has been approved to host up to 30,000 fans at the Tennessee track.
Officials cited concerns about the rise in coronavirus cases in North Carolina as the reason for the venue change.
Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith announced the decision Monday. Speedway Motorsports owns the Charlotte, N.C., and Bristol, Tenn., facilities. Tickets for the event are on sale for $35 at BristolMotorSpeedway.com. Fans must sign an "assumption of risk" waiver before they buy tickets.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Sullivan County, Tenn., officials gave NASCAR approval to host a limited number of fans at the race. Bristol Motor Speedway has a capacity of nearly 160,000.
"We will be able to entertain fans at Bristol Motor Speedway," Smith said in a news release. "This will be the biggest event with spectators live at the event since the coronavirus pandemic started."
Drivers must have won a 2019 or 2020 Cup Series race, a previous All-Star Race, or be a former Cup Series champion to be eligible for the All-Star Race.
Four additional spots will be open for the two stage winners and the race winner from the July 15 All-Star Open and the winner of an All-Star fan vote. Fans can vote at Nascar.com/fanvote until noon EDT July 14.
NASCAR has not allowed fans in the grandstands for the first seven Cup Series races since the season resumed from suspension on May 17.
Last Sunday's event in Homestead, Fla., permitted 1,000 military service members to attend. Five-thousand fans will be allowed to attend the Geico 500 on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala.
The All-Star Race at Bristol marks the first time since 1986 that the event hasn't been hosted at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the event in 1986.
"While Charlotte will always be recognized as the birthplace and traditional home for the All-Star Race, the current data surrounding the pandemic in North Carolina makes Bristol a better option for fan access this summer," Smith said.
Bristol Motor Speedway will work with NASCAR, public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal officials to create modified event procedures and protocols and determine the number of attendees for the event. Campground restrooms and shower facilities will be closed.
"Protocols will include social distancing among groups of fans in the grandstands and individually in concession lines; enhanced cleaning and sanitation in high-touch, high-traffic public areas; added hand-sanitizer stations; limited guests in suites; and infield admission for race team and operation personnel only," NASCAR said.
The Cup Series schedule will continue with a June 27 event at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., after Sunday's event at Talladega.
Drivers then will race on consecutive Sundays in Indianapolis and Sparta, Ky., before the All-Star Open and All-Star Race at Bristol. The All-Star race will air at 7 p.m. EDT July 15 on FS1.