Fans and flags under scrutiny as NASCAR heads to Talladega

AP photo by Butch Dill / Ryan Blaney (12) leads a pack of cars through the tri-oval during a NASCAR Cup Series race on Oct 14, 2019, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

The heat is on at Talladega Superspeedway, and not just for the drivers at the Alabama track known for high-speed chaos.

It is another test run for security and health and safety protocols as fans start to return to sporting events in limited numbers. NASCAR is permitting up to 5,000 fans and, officials hope, zero Confederate flags into Sunday's Cup Series race, along with 44 motorhomes.

Fans will undergo health screenings before entering the track and be required to wear masks and asked to maintain six feet of social distancing. Other sports organizations and leagues will likely be watching how NASCAR and Talladega handle the event because fans have been virtually barred from every sporting event in North America for more than three months because of the coronavirus, and positive tests are on the rise in scattered places across the country.