Chase Elliott, center, car owner Rick Hendrick, right, and crew chief Alan Gustafson celebrate in victory lane after Elliot won the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Wesley Broome)

NASCAR hosts 20,000 fans in the biggest crowd in pandemic history

Fans in the stands? That’s crazy. Well, for NASCAR, it was a welcomed feeling.

After months of postponed events and empty crowds, 20,000 eagle-eyed viewers packed into Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. It is the largest crowd since the coronavirus arrived on our shores.

NASCAR brings the crowd

With thousands of people present, the atmosphere around the track felt familiar. Many racers felt a brief moment of normalcy, with all the craziness that has been happening prior. Chase Elliot ultimately won the All-Star race, earning the million-dollar prize.

“Tonight felt like an event again, and I felt like we’ve been missing that piece for a couple months,” Elliot said.

Elliot commented on how the energy and fire from the crowd brought back the joy of racing. It feels good to be back.

Since the resurgence of racing, Elliot has won a few races with empty stands. The latest win came with cheers from the stands.

Bittersweet win

For Elliot, this victory is bittersweet. This is his first win since the pandemic began with people present. Fans spread six-feet apart got to watch him lap around “The Last Great Colosseum.” This race felt like an event. The people want events.

Winning the All-Star race has another meaning for Elliot. Austin Elliot, his father, won the same race in 1986. The only other father-son duo to win the All-Star Race is the Earnhardts. All of Chase’s hard work and sacrifice has paid off.

The next race is Saturday, July 11 at the Kentucky Speedway. Elliot looks for his fourth post-pandemic win.

All sound courtesy of ABC Newscall.

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