CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR announced it will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The race is slated to be NASCAR’s first on-track action in more than two months as the sports world have been on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The premier Cup Series will then race three more times in an 11-day span, with one more at Darlington and then two at the track outside Charlotte. NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organization to announce specific return to play plans since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March.
The May 17 race is a 400-miler, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. It also is the first of three races at the track, including a second Cup Series race held midweek under the lights three days later.
The May schedule also includes the crown jewel Coca-Cola 600 in its traditional Memorial Day Weekend home for the 60th consecutive season, plus midweek races in prime time.
“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.”
NASCAR officials have collaborated with public health officials, medical experts, and local, state, and federal officials to create a comprehensive plan to ensure the health and safety of competitors and surrounding communities at the above events. All races will be strictly tailored, in every way, to follow specific guidelines set by the CDC.
NASCAR notes other adjustments include using protective equipment, health screenings for all individuals before entering the facility and maintaining social distancing protocols throughout the event.
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