NASCAR has confirmed it will resume its season as early as May 18 (NZT) with a 400 mile race at Darlington Raceway held behind closed doors.
The revised calendar will feature four Sprint Cup races in May, shared across both Darlington and Charlotte.
Ultimately, NASCAR will run seven races in 11 days across its three national series.
Practice sessions have been annulled, while only one event at Charlotte will feature qualifying. How the starting grids for the other races will be determined remains unknown.
Each event will be a one-day show with personal protective equipment (PPE) mandated throughout the event.
There will be enforced social distancing protocols for everyone entering the venue as well as health screenings before entering the circuit gates. While the number of people allowed inside the venue at any given time will also be monitored.
“NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
“NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community. We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.”
“It’s an honor for Darlington Raceway to resume the 2020 NASCAR season in just a few short weeks with three races in four days,” said track president Kerry Tharp. “Darlington is one of the most iconic and historic tracks in the sport and will be a tremendous backdrop when NASCAR returns to racing. We certainly appreciate the support from our state’s leadership in working with NASCAR to allow us to host these events.
“In accordance with the CDC and public health agency standards and protocols, no fans will be admitted to these events; however, we encourage all fans to tune in to FOX, FS1, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.”
The US has a confirmed total of 1.08 million cases of Covid-19, and while over 120,000 have recovered, the country still has the highest death tally in the world with 62,444.
Unlike IndyCar, however, NASCAR boasts a monstrous television package meaning events can run ahead without any spectators as circuits will still receive their pre-negotiated payment.
|Monday, May 18||Cup||Darlington||7:30 a.m.|
|Wednesday, May 20||Xfinity||Darlington||12 p.m.|
|Thursday, May 21||Cup||Darlington||11.30 a.m.|
|Monday, May 25||Cup||Charlotte||10 a.m.|
|Tuesday, May 26||Xfinity||Charlotte||11.30 a.m.|
|Wednesday, May 27||Trucks||Charlotte||12 p.m.|
|Thursday, May 28||Cup||Charlotte||12 p.m.|