NASCAR today announced it will return to racing on May 17, which will kick off a slate of races that includes seven events in three series at two race tracks – Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will each host its first on-track event since mid-March.
The NASCAR Cup Series will return to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17, with a 400-mile event scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, live on FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
What follows is a unique schedule that includes midweek races in primetime and a NASCAR crown jewel – the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – in its traditional Memorial Day Weekend home for the 60th consecutive season.
The opening slate of races is as follows:
|Sun, May 17||Darlington||Cup||400 mi||FOX||3:30 PM|
|Tue, May 19||Darlington||XFINITY||200 mi||FS1||8:00 PM|
|Wed, May 20||Darlington||Cup||500 km||FS1||7:30 PM|
|Sun, May 24||Charlotte||Cup||600 mi||FOX||6:00 PM|
|Mon, May 25||Charlotte||XFINITY||300 mi||FS1||7:30 PM|
|Tue, May 26||Charlotte||Gander Trucks||200 mi||FS1||8:00 PM|
|Wed, May 27||Charlotte||Cup||500 km||FS1||8:00 PM|
Each of NASCAR’s return events will be run without fans in attendance. Further schedule adjustments will be announced in the future.
“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.”
“We are excited to welcome back the FOX NASCAR season to our airwaves to provide a return to live sports, a move toward normalcy and a much-needed distraction during these unprecedented times,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports. “While we are thrilled to return to the race track, the health and safety of our employees and all race participants is our top priority. We will continue working in lockstep with our partners at NASCAR and the race tracks to follow all national and local health guidelines.”
Following thorough collaboration with public health officials, medical experts and state and federal officials, NASCAR has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan. In accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations, nearly every aspect of how the event is conducted will be significantly modified, including:
- One-day shows;
- Mandated use of personal protective equipment throughout the event;
- Health screenings for all individuals prior to entering the facility, while inside the facility and exiting the facility;
- Social distancing protocols throughout the event;
- Strict limits on the number of individuals who are granted access into each facility
As NASCAR works towards the execution of these events, the sanctioning body will continue to work with state and local authorities based on trends and local restrictions.
In-race competition procedures remain largely unchanged, though NASCAR will eliminate practice for all events during this opening return slate, as well as qualifying for all events except the Coca-Cola 600.
— NASCAR —
NASCAR is working closely with health experts and government officials to ensure best practices and has a plan in place to minimize any risks associated with the virus.
NASCAR prides itself in being a fan-friendly sport. Fans drive everything NASCAR does, and NASCAR looks forward to the day when it can welcome fans back to the track. The decision to race without fans for these races is focused on the long-term health of the fans and the sport.
There will be no practice sessions for any of the events announced Thursday. Qualifying will only take place for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
— NASCAR FAQs—
ALSO: NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Steve O’Donnell; and NASCAR vice president of racing operations John Bobo participated in a teleconference with the media to discuss the return to racing. Click here to see the transcript.