NASCAR to race at Homestead

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UPDATE: NASCAR announced Thursday it will race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans 

NASCAR stated:

“At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez issued a statement Thursday morning postponing next weekend’s NASCAR Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Miami-Dade County under a state of emergency because of the public health threat of COVID-19.

He stated:

“Although we do not have community spread at this time, we want to take the preemptive steps to keep it that way. Therefore, I have decided to suspend the operation of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, the Miami Open tennis tournament, the MIA 5K run, and all major events at the American Airlines Arena. The March 22 NASCAR race at the Homestead Miami Speedway is postponed at this time. NASCAR officials will decide whether or not to hold the race without fans.

“As we move forward together during this time, we will continue to monitor what the World Health Organization has determined is a global pandemic. We will constantly evaluate planned mass gatherings as the situation evolves.

“I will be making future policy decisions regarding indoor events planned for more than 250 people based on federal and state health officials’ guidance.

“In addition, I am recommending that smaller gatherings, if they’re not essential, also be reconsidered.”

NASCAR issued a statement shortly after the mayor’s announcement: “NASCAR will announce its plan for near term race event scheduling at 1 pm ET.”

Wednesday, NASCAR announced procedural changes at the track because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The last NASCAR race to be postponed for reasons other than weather was the 2001 New Hampshire race because of the Sept. 11 attacks. The New Hampshire race was made up after the season finale that year. That was before NASCAR had its playoff system in place.

MORE: NBC Sports live blog with updates on how the coronavirus is impacting sports

More than 1,000 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus. At least 33 have died in the U.S. from the disease.

Here is what to know about the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization called the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a pandemic on Wednesday.

Also, St. Petersburg, Florida mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted Thursday that general admission for this weekend’s IndyCar race in the city would be prohibited and left questions as to if the race would be held.

Also Thursday, The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has rescheduled the April 25-26 NASCAR GP Spain at Valencia to Oct. 31-Nov. 1.

Wednesday night, the NBA announced it was suspending its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert preliminary tested positive for the COVID-19.

Also Wednesday, the NCAA announced it would hold its upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournament games without fans.