As the United States and the rest of the world struggle to regain life as it was prior to the Covid-19 virus, NASCAR will become the first major sporting series to return to action.
NASCAR has announced that the engines will fire once more at Darlington Raceway on May 17. The return to the track comes one week after the annual weekend off for Mother’s Day and will serve as the first race of seven races over the next eleven days.
When the nation shut down last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NASCAR officials stated that they were dedicated to completing the entire 36 race season even if it meant presenting multiple racing events in a single week.
For at least for these first races at the historic Darlington Raceway in South Carolina will be held without fans in the stands; as will the Charlotte races. The 400 mile race will be the first of three races to be held at the track including a second NASCAR Cup Series race three days later.
And on Memorial Day weekend, the drivers will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the longest race of the season; the Coca-Cola 600.
As NASCAR begins to construct the remainder of the 2020 season, the first group of races have been scheduled:
May 17 – a 400 mile Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway
May 19 – a 200 mile Xfinity Series at Darlington Raceway
May 20 – a 500 kilometer Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway
May 24 – a 600 mile Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 25 (Memorial Day) – a 300 mile Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 26 a 200 mile Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 27 a 500 kilometer Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
NASCAR officials state that all recommendations and guidelines issues by the CDC, OSHA, and other health agencies will be followed to ensure maximum safety for all involved; including health screenings, the use of personal protection equipment, and practicing social distancing which includes a maximum of 16 members at the track for each team. The teams will be separated; as will the haulers; however, NASCAR has chosen not to test specifically for the Covid-19 virus.
The first two tracks to hold races are withing a few hours drive of most of the teams’ workshops and will minimize any exposure due to travel.
Normally the teams will get two practice sessions before qualifying; however there will be no practice for the drivers and only the Coca-Cola 600 will see the teams qualify for race start positions. The remainder of the races will have the field set by team owner points as directed in the NASCAR rule book.
Teams will head directly to the inspection process upon entering the garage.
NASCAR has announced that any driver who has to miss any races due to the Covid-19 virus will receive a medical waiver upon their return.
NASCAR last rand a race on March 8 where Joey Logano won the race at Phoenix Raceway.