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NASCAR to race at Atlanta, Homestead without fans

AUTO: FEB 23 NASCAR Xfinity Series - Rinnai 250

Hampton, GA - FEBRUARY 23: The field takes the green flag during the running of the Rinnai 250 on February 23,2019 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NASCAR announced Thursday that upcoming races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will be held without fans.

NASCAR stated:

“At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events.”

Earlier Thursday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez issued a statement postponing the March 22 NASCAR Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Miami-Dade County under a state of emergency because of the public health threat of COVID-19.

The last NASCAR race to be postponed for reasons other than weather was the 2001 New Hampshire race because of the Sept. 11 attacks. The New Hampshire race was made up after the season finale that year. That was before NASCAR had its playoff system in place.

MORE: NBC Sports live blog with updates on how the coronavirus is impacting sports

Atlanta Motor Speedway provided a statement for fans who have purchased tickets for this weekend’s races.

More than 1,000 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus. At least 33 have died in the U.S. from the disease.

Here is what to know about the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization called the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a pandemic on Wednesday.

Also Thursday:

IMSA announced it was postponing the 12 Hours of Sebring from March 18-21 to Nov. 11-14.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it is closing its shop to visitors.

Other Cup teams soon followed with announcements about closing their shops to visitors: