NASCAR Eyeing Action-Packed Return Soon
The return of sports, well at least NASCAR appears to be on the horizon. It may not be football or basketball, but NASCAR has announced a two-week schedule starting May 17th which will feature seven events over a period of 11 days. All of these races will be held at either Darlington Raceway or Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The first three races will be held between May 17th and May 20th from Darlington. This will feature two Cup Series races with an Xfinity Series race in between. NASCAR will then head to Charlotte for four races in four days between May 24th and May 27th. This will feature two Cup Series races, one Xfinity Series race and one Camping World Truck Series race. The events at Darlington won't feature any practice runs or qualifying. NASCAR officials have said that this could be changed for Charlotte once they have a test run at Darlington.
None of these races will have any fans in attendance, which isn't surprising. "That is still a work in progress," said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has given NASCAR the green light to hold these events, given they follow some guidelines. Things won't look quite as we are used to them being, however, it will be nice to finally have some live sports that aren't being broadcast from the virtual realm.
The Guidelines For Return
- Only licensed NASCAR team members will be allowed into the racetrack. They will be required to wear cloth face masks. Anyone who does not will be removed from the facility.
- Teams' work areas in the garage will be spread out to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Spotters, normally working shoulder-to-shoulder atop the press box/tower, will be spread out to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Competitor motor homes will be allowed in the racetrack infield, but instead of occupying one enclosed area, they will be spread out throughout the infield.
- Teams will be limited to 16 total members, including the driver.
- All events will include live pit stops. O'Donnell said that live pit stops were a high priority during the formulation of the return plans, in order to make the race experience look and feel as normal as possible.
- Over-the-wall pit crew members will use face screens or neck socks in addition to their normal gear of firesuits, helmets and gloves.
- NASCAR has asked race teams to closely monitor the health of their employees before, during and following each event.
- There will be random temperature checks of everyone working in the garage area. Anyone determined to be symptomatic will be checked via an outside care center. If they are determined to be a potential virus threat, they will be required to leave and be replaced with another crew member. This includes drivers.
- NASCAR is asking everyone inside a race facility to keep a contact tracing log, manually at first and then by implementing digital inputs. If a worker shows symptoms, that person and those he was in contact with will need to self-isolate.
- Media coverage outside of the TV and radio broadcast partners is still being determined.