CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR is a major economic driver in Concord. For many small restaurants, not having fans would be difficult, but at least having the race with everything from pit crews to TV crews would boost their businesses.

“We all have it all on the line right now, this is do or die,” said Hector Zumaeta. 

Zumaeta helped open a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic.

“This is going to be fighting for your life, and we’re ready and we’re going after it every day.” 

He manages Jackie Boys, a restaurant that’s about a mile away from the Charlotte Motor Speedway

He’s one of several small businesses owners watching closely to find out if the Charlotte Motor Speedway will get the green flag to reopen in time for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. 

The NASCAR season is on hold during the coronavirus crisis and the government has ordered restaurants to shut down their dine-in services only opening for take-out and delivery.

“I’ve grown up going to races every spring and fall almost my entire life, the place is an awesome venue, it comes down to public safety,” 

Barrett Dabbs owns Johnny Rogers Barbeque and Burgers near the Speedway. 

“We do receive a lot of business from the fans, it’s certainly concerning how it will impact our business here in May,” Dabbs said. 

On Monday, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore joined other lawmakers asking the governor to allow NASCAR to run the Coca-Cola 600 without fans. It would be a different kind of race, but Dabbs says it may be the right move.

“I am in support of whatever is safe the worst thing that could happen is we have 100,000 spectators or visitors come to our little town really and have the ability to infect or to carry the disease if it’s not really under control at that point in time.” 

There are several possibilities on how to move forward. The 600 could be run with or without fans and the NASCAR season could be extended. Several races have already been postponed and the 600 could be the first one in months to run on live tv.