Joey Chestnut is BUMMED there won't be fans at this year's Nathan's Hot Dog Contest, but there's a huge silver lining ... Jaws says the conditions are ripe for a NEW WORLD RECORD!!
Chestnut -- the greatest competitive eater of all time and 12-time Nathan's champ -- currently holds the record for most dogs devoured in 10 minutes ... 74 in 2018's contest.
But, Joey tells TMZ Sports come July 4 -- thanks to the competition being moved indoors without fans 'cause of COVID-19 -- he's primed for a record-shattering performance.
"There's a little bit of a bonus 'cause we're gonna be eating in air conditioning and they're less eaters, so they're making less hot dogs so they might taste better," Chestnut says.
"There's a good chance that we might have better conditions for a world record and I'ma be pushing for it."
FYI, the hugely famous contest usually takes place on NYC's Coney Island. New York City in July = insane heat and humidity ... making it difficult to scarf down pounds of meat.
But, with the changes, Joey's confident he will set a new record ... but how many more wieners can a human possibly scarf down in only 10 minutes?
"I'm breaking the record this 4th of July! This is gonna be a weird 4th of July, but I'ma make it memorable. My record 74, 75 just sounds like a good number but we'll see," Chestnut tells us.
"If I'm feeling it, if I'm in the perfect rhythm, 77 is doable."
Seventy-Seven ........... 😲