Chase Elliott may be up in his plane. Trevor Bayne joked that he may ride around wearing “a welding helmet.”
Monday’s solar eclipse is big news among scientists, astronomers and others interested in what goes on in the universe.
It has its place among folks in NASCAR as well.
“I didn’t know about it until about a week and a half ago,” Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I was at a friend’s house and he was telling me about it and telling me what he was going to do. He’s like ‘This is this huge deal.’ I’m like ‘What is?’ I didn’t know anything about it.”
Now that he’s been brought up to speed about the celestial occurrence, Elliott thinks he might have just the solution to avoid the crowded highways and eclipse-watching spots in the northeast corner of Georgia where the total solar eclipse can be seen. Those outside the path of totality will see varying portions of a partial solar eclipse, depending on their location.
“Yeah, I’m interested; I think it’s kind of cool,” said Elliott, who has his pilot’s license. “I feel like what would be really neat would be to go fly; go take off and be flying while it happens. So, I was going to go do that, possibly, if the weather was good on Monday.
“I do have a flight to catch Monday night, so if I can make the timing work I’d like to go fly and see it from the air if we can do that.”
Fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Bayne joked that he would head out during the eclipse wearing a welding helmet to avoid damaging his eyes while watching the eclipse.
“I’ll be in Knoxville, so I’m going to go put myself in the traffic and drive around with a welding helmet and see if I can’t look at the sun a little bit,” the Roush Fenway Racing driver said. “That’s what everybody says to do.
“I don’t know how my retinas are going to like it. I was expecting it to be like complete dark, you just look up at it and everybody is like, ‘No, you cannot stare at the sun.’ I’ll get out a welding helmet, I guess.”
While NASCAR-sanctioned tracks are spread across the nation, only Kansas Speedway appears to be inside the 70-mile wide path across the country where the total eclipse can be seen.
According to track officials, however, there are no eclipse-watching plans in place.
Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway is in the path of totality but hasn’t hosted NASCAR’s top series since 1984.
Meanwhile, Texas Motor Speedway, which is located approximately 550 miles from the path of totality, isn’t letting that distance keep officials there from throwing a party.
The Speedway Motorsports Inc.-owned property is hosting a Monday watch party for fans as well as a “celestial-themed pre-event luncheon for its staff.”
The partial eclipse seen there will be shown on Big Hoss, the world’s largest TV and streamed on the tracks’ Facebook Live page.
Darlington Raceway is a bit closer to the path, 99.1 percent of the sun will be eclipsed in that region, and is offering a Monday only, Total Eclipse weekend ticket package.
The special ticket pricing will be available from midnight Sunday, Aug. 20 until midnight Monday Aug. 21.