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BMS makes final preparations for races

Jeff Birchfield • Updated May 30, 2020 at 6:30 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Extra safety precautions are in place and the finishing touches on victory lane in preparation for a pair of NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Teams from Ballad Health gave quick health screenings to those entering the Bristol Motor Speedway property Saturday morning. Inside the speedway, the final banners were hanging in victory lane, which was also being sanitized before Sunday’s Food City presents Supermarket Heroes 500 Cup Series race.

“Everybody comes through a screening process where we take their temperature and ask five pertinent questions about COVID exposure and symptoms,” said Robbie Parks, the Ballad Health Care nursing director for BMS. “Once they’ve made it through the screening survey, they will go from here (Bristol Dragway) over to the racetrack.”

The pre-approved list of people for Sunday’s Cup race and Monday’s Xfinity Series event includes BMS employees, drivers and crews, fire and medical personnel and a limited number of media members. Parks said there will be about 60 health care providers and firefighters inside the speedway during the races and they also must go through a screening.

Ballad and BMS officials have been working closely with NASCAR to make the process efficient and effective. They’ve used the experience of previous screenings at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway and applied what works best at Bristol.

“We’re the third track doing the screening this way and until this is contained, this will be the process at every NASCAR event,” Parks said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve been in contact daily with NASCAR and medical liaisons. They’ve told me what worked better at one place than the other place. We think we have the best plan possible for this to occur smoothly and without incident.”

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