BRISTOL, Tenn. — Workers wearing gas masks and white plastic coveralls moved from trailer to trailer Friday, spraying a disinfecting agent on the equipment housed inside.
Their job was to ensure that Bristol Motor Speedway is a sterile environment for the mechanics and drivers who will occupy the pit for the races Sunday and Monday.
The Bristol Motor Speedway hosts Food City Presents Supermarket Heroes 500 on Sunday and the Cheddar’s 300 Xfinity race Monday, both of which were postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the return of racing comes new health, safety and cleaning standards NASCAR has adopted to protect drivers, race personnel and BMS employees.
“With NASCAR being one of the first major sporting events back during a pandemic, it’s really important that our track goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of NASCAR, competitors, our staff and those in the local community,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of BMS.
As part of these health safety standards, race fans are not allowed at the track for races and North Carolina-based company Clean Harbors, which already provides cleanup and oil recycling services for NASCAR, is now in charge of disinfecting too.
Buddy Judy, the marketing director for Clean Harbors, said the new duties include using a disinfecting agent called isopropyl alcohol on tools and equipment before they are unloaded onto the track. Once everything is unloaded and moved to the right area, they give it a second treatment to get rid of any new pathogens.
He said the gas masks, gloves and white coveralls aren’t just worn to protect them from inadvertently spreading or being exposed to COVID-19. The suits also protect them from inhaling or ingesting any of the chemicals they spray.
And what they are doing isn’t just limited to the track. Judy said they are also tasked with disinfecting press boxes, the media center and medical care center.