The Daytona 500 attendance in 2021 will be limited to just 21 percent of maximum capacity. That's because while NASCAR is back, so is COVID-19. That amounts to just over 21,000 people at a facility that can seat over 101,500.
Why Daytona 500 attendance has traditionally been high
The Daytona 500 is one of the most historic races in NASCAR history. It took seven-time Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, Sr. 20 years to win, and is also where he tragically lost his life only three years later.
Going for the win at Daytona nearly ended the careers of Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and countless others as well.
The 1979 Daytona 500 saw Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison fight tooth-and-nail on the final lap, only to lose it to Petty after the two took each other out.
This year's Daytona 500 attendance will be similar to other Speedweek events, and a myriad of safety precautions will be in place to ensure fans' safety.
NASCAR has yet to publicly announce the expected Daytona 500 attendance for Sunday's race but the 2019 event held at the track's road course on Aug. 16 saw an estimated 10,000 people attend, as per the Daytona Beach Journal. The paper also reported that the regular season finale race hosted an estimated audience of around 25,000.
While the decision to limit the Daytona 500 attendance is likely to prove unpopular, the onset of COVID-19 has made it a necessity.
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