CHARLOTTE, N.C – NASCAR announced on Thursday that they will continue the fanless season starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with the main Series Cup race three more times in a span of 10 days.
NASCAR joined the UFC as the first major sports organization to announce specific returns to play a plan since the coronavirus pandemic shut down US sports in mid-March.
“NASCAR and his team are very eager and eager to return to racing, and highly respect the responsibilities that come with returning to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “NASCAR will be back in an environment that will ensure the safety of competitors, officials and everything in the local community.
The NASCAR revision schedule only lasts until May and has a pair of Wednesday’s Cup races, meeting long-standing fan requests for midweek events. The first race is scheduled for Darlington, NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway, followed by the second race on the oval-shaped track that turns 70 years old three days later.
Charlotte Motor Speedway will then hold the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 to mark the 60th consecutive year the longest race on NASCAR’s schedule will be held on Memorial Day weekend. The track at Concord, outside NASCAR headquarters in Charlotte, will host the race on Wednesday three days later.
There will also be Xfinity series and lower-level Trucks on two tracks. The North Carolina Governor said the Charlotte race could be held as long as the health conditions in the area did not deteriorate.
“This is a proactive effort to restore our motor sports industry and improve the morale of sports fans around the world, while at the same time maintaining the health and safety of all those who will be on location, the top priority,” said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports . He said “sports enthusiasts around the world needed this, returned to normalcy with live broadcasts on TV, and NASCAR was uniquely positioned to give it from a competitive standpoint.”
NASCAR has set guidelines for holding events safely using CDC guidelines on social distance and personal protection equipment. Only important personnel will be allowed to attend the event, and a cloth face mask will be required. The entire place will be used to keep a distance in garage garages and haulers parked.
NASCAR suspended its season on March 13 with only four of the 36 races scheduled to finish. The stock car series, relying heavily on television money and sponsor payments, has promised to complete its full schedule. The revised schedule for now remains in the lane within driving distance of the racing team based in Charlotte and in countries that have begun to reopen.
“Darlington is one of the most iconic and historic tracks in sport and will be an extraordinary background when NASCAR returns to racing,” said President Kerry Tharp, who noted the track will now have three Cup races in a season for the first time in its history.
Darlington is also scheduled to open the playoffs with the Southern 500 on September 6. Because the track now has two additional dates, NASCAR will lose two Cup races from other properties. The same applies to Speedway Motorsports, which has received one additional race so far and has had to lose one at another facility.
Nearly all teams began returning to their stores this week with a reduced or rotating initial workforce. Now NASCAR has told which team will race this month, they can start preparing a car that is suitable for two tracks.
Although Florida and Texas invited NASCAR to compete in those countries without an audience, the sanctions agency postponed scheduling on tracks that require air travel and hotel accommodations.
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