NASCAR Is Back! Live Racing to Resume May 17
NASCAR will resume live racing in May, with seven races scheduled across 10 days, starting with a Cup Series race on May 17.
The seven races include four Cup Series races (May 17, 20, 24, 27) at two tracks. The circuits at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C., are 100 miles apart and near where many teams set up on a permanent basis. This allows most teams involved to drive to the track, race and return home in the same day.
NASCAR made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday, adding that the races be broadcast on Fox or FX1. Of course, changes will be made to keep everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Upcoming NASCAR Schedule:
May 17, 3:30PM — Cup Series Race at Darlington Raceway In Darlington, S.C.
May 19, 8PM — Xfinity Series Race at Darlington Raceway In Darlington, S.C.
May 20, 7:30PM — Cup Series Race at Darlington Raceway In Darlington, S.C.
May 24, 6PM — Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway In Charlotte, N.C.
May 25, 7:30PM — Alsco 300, Xfinity Series Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway In Charlotte, N.C.
May 26, 8PM — North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway In Charlotte, N.C.
May 27, 8PM — Cup Series Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway In Charlotte, N.C.
No fans will be in attendance, and broadcast crews will be spread apart to conform to social distancing guidelines. NASCAR is uniquely positioned to return sooner than other sports (with the exception being tennis), because competitors don't need to be near one another. However, pit stops involve several crew members working together in close proximity. How that is going to be handled is still unknown, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
NASCAR drivers last raced in a Cup Series race on March 8. Since then the sport has taken to virtual racing and enjoyed some success as all other sports vanished from the television landscape. Drivers are more than enthusiastic about the return.
"I’m excited to get back racing," former champion Jimmie Johnson tweeted. "While it’s unfortunate that there won’t be fans in the stands, it’s obviously necessary at this time." Others quickly agreed.
It's not clear if NASCAR has a plan beyond late May or beyond the two Carolina racetracks. The Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway would be the next scheduled race after May 24. It's set for May 31.
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