Party in a pandemic: NASCAR fans power through at Daytona

Florida

Fans in the infield at the Daytona International Speedway pass the time before a race Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona is used to shirtless fans partying in the infield. But what about maskless ones? Usually the biggest NASCAR party of the season, the sport will have to figure out how to police up to 30,000 fans who may have little interest in sticking to the pandemic guidelines. How many fans will actually come remains to be seen? (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR is welcoming some 30,000 fans to the Daytona 500 this weekend in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more than 480,000 people in the U.S.

It is expected to be the largest sporting event in the country since the coronavirus shut down much of the sports world 11 months ago.

NASCAR went down this road last season when Bristol had about 22,000 fans for its All-Star race last July. The Super Bowl hosted 25,000 fans last week in Tampa, Florida, about 150 miles southwest of Daytona.

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