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NASCAR set to allow fans back at tracks Sunday

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday in Hampton, Ga. Credit: Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  — NASCAR is set to allow fans back at the track for races this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR will allow up to 1,000 Florida service members, representing the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral, to attend the Cup Series race Sunday as honorary guests and view the race from the grandstands.

Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama will allow up to 5,000 guests in the frontstretch grandstands/towers for the June 21 Cup race. There will be limited motorhome/camping spots available outside the track.

NASCAR says all fans will be screened before entering, required to wear face coverings, mandated to social distance at six feet, and will not have access to the infield, among other revised operational protocols.

NASCAR has returned to racing, but had not allowed fans inside the tracks in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for the responsibility that comes with integrating guests back into our events,” said Daryl Wolfe, NASCAR executive vice president and chief sales and operations officer. “We believe implementing this methodical process is an important step forward for the sport and the future of live sporting events. The passion and unwavering support of our industry and fans is the reason we race each weekend and we look forward to slowly and responsibly welcoming them back at select events.”

Wallace: Let's ban Confederate flag

Bubba Wallace wasn’t always bothered by the sight of Confederate flags on race day.

"What I’m chasing is checkered flags, and that was kind of my narrative," said Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver in the NASCAR Cup Series since 1971, on Monday in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. "But diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that, people talk about that - that’s the first thing they bring up."

NASCAR issued a statement in 2015 that included a "request" for fans "to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag" at its events. But a request is no longer enough for Wallace. The 26-year-old driver of the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports told Lemon he plans to speak to NASCAR about banning the flags altogether.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," Wallace said. "So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here."

He added: "We ask nicely the first time. If they don’t agree, then you have a nice day and get on back on the road where you came from. It should not be allowed. We should not be able to have an argument over that. It is a thick line that we can not cross anymore."

NASCAR has not commented on Wallace’s remarks. — Los Angeles Times

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