NASCAR announced Thursday that it plans to resume racing May 17 with the Cup Series racing at Darlington Raceway. That event will be the first of seven races among three series between May 17-27 and starts the NASCAR return.
No fans will be allowed at any of those events.
Here is the schedule NASCAR announced:
May 17 (Sunday): Cup teams will run a 400-mile race at Darlington Raceway. Race will be at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
May 19 (Tuesday): Xfinity teams will run a 200-mile race at Darlington Raceway. Race will be at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.
May 20 (Wednesday): Cup teams will return to Darlington to run a 500-kilometer race. Race will be at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
May 24 (Sunday): Cup teams will compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Race will be at 6 p.m. ET on FOX.
May 25 (Monday): Xfinity teams will run 300 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Race will be at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
May 26 (Tuesday): Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series teams will run 200 miles at Charlotte. Race will be at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.
May 27 (Wednesday): Cup teams return to race 500 kilometers at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Race will be at 8 p.m. ET on FS1
NASCAR will eliminate practice for all events between May 17-27, as well as qualifying for all events except the Coca-Cola 600. Each event will be a one-day show.
“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.”
Adjustments NASCAR return will make
In accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations, NASCAR stated that nearly every aspect of how the event is conducted will be significantly modified, including:
# 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.
NASCAR did not provide details about any other races beyond the Darlington events. Darlington Raceway announced that the Southern 500 will still take place Sept. 4-6, meaning that Darlington’s races in May will replace other events.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a statement about Darlington hosting NASCAR’s return: “As our nation restarts, I can think of no better place for NASCAR to drop the green flag than at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Team South Carolina stands ready to help NASCAR restart the season at Darlington Raceway with three races next month that can be enjoyed by fans from home on television, radio, and online.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper stated Tuesday that “unless health conditions go down,” the state will allow Charlotte Motor Speedway to host the May 24 Coca-Cola 600.
“I’d like to thank Gov. Cooper, NASCAR and all of our state and local government and health officials who have worked so hard with us to make this happen,” said Speedway Motorsports President and Chief Executive Officer Marcus Smith in a statement. “This has been a proactive effort to put our motorsports industry back to work and boost the morale of sports fans around the world, while at the same time keeping the health and safety of all who will be on site the top priority.
All-Star Race date is still TBD
Charlotte Motor Speedway announced that the All-Star Race has been postponed to a yet-to-be determined date. Smith said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “the plan” is for Charlotte to host the Roval race in the playoffs as scheduled.
NASCAR last raced March 8 with the Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway. NASCAR postponed races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, Dover International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Charlotte Motor Speedway announced that Coca-Cola 600 and NASCAR All-Star Race weekend ticket holders on file may choose to receive an event credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20 percent, or choose to receive a full refund of their purchase price. The event credit can be applied toward any admissions, including, but not limited to, grandstand seating, infield tickets, camping, fan hospitality and pit passes. The 120-percent event credit can be used during the remaining 2020 or 2021 seasons for a NASCAR sanctioned event at any Speedway Motorsports owned track, subject to availability.
I’m excited to get back racing. Safety is obviously the most important thing & I know NASCAR has been working to ensure that we have the necessary safety precautions in place. While it’s unfortunate that there won’t be fans in the stands, it’s obviously necessary at this time.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) April 30, 2020
It’s nearly impossible to create a perfect schedule, but @NASCAR worked hard & has done a great job to make racing happen again. Things will look different when we return but the changes are necessary for the safety of everyone who makes our races successful, especially our fans.
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) April 30, 2020