Track Officials Pull The Plug On The Knoxville Nationals

The four-wide parade lap prior to Saturday's 59th annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals finale. (Mark Funderburk photo)
The 60th edition of the Knoxville Nationals will not take place in 2020. (Mark Funderburk photo)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa – The Marion County Fair Board and Knoxville Raceway have announced the 60th running of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s will not take place this year.

Instead, the 60th running of the legendary sprint car event will take place Aug. 11-14, 2021.

In lieu of the Knoxville Nationals, Knoxville Raceway will partner with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series for three nights of racing, Aug. 13-15, culminating with the Brownells Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank, previously scheduled on Sunday, Aug. 9.

The Brownells Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank will pay $50,000 to win and $3,000 to start. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 7,000 spectators will be permitted to attend each night. Further information for this race will be announced at a later date.

“This is devastating for all of us on the fair board and at the track, as we know it is for all our fans, competitors, sponsors, employees and everyone in the racing community,” said Brian Bailey, president of the Marion County Fair Board. “A year without the Knoxville Nationals just feels surreal. This is not the outcome any of us wanted. We can promise everyone, that when the 60th running of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s happens, it will be our biggest event yet. We’ll be eager and ready to welcome all 23,000-plus fans back to Knoxville.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Knoxville Raceway officials have worked with local government and Iowa state officials to craft a safe plan to host the 60th NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s. Unfortunately, as case numbers continue to rise in the country and mass gatherings continue to be discouraged, the track’s latest and most viable event plan was not approved.

“Since March, we have collaborated on several different plans with state and local officials to make the Knoxville Nationals happen,” Bailey said. “In the end, we were just up against too many obstacles to make the event happen safely and at the level expected of the Knoxville Nationals. We’re grateful for all of the time, effort and understanding we’ve received throughout the process. Collectively, everyone is disappointed with this outcome.”

The decision to push the 60th running of the Knoxville Nationals to 2021 comes one day after Eldora Speedway announced the 37th Kings Royal had been delayed until 2021. 

Barring any unforeseen changes, all other events on the 2020 Knoxville Raceway schedule are on as scheduled. All events, as of now, have a maximum capacity of 7,000 spectators.