NASCAR Will Be First U.S. Sport to Return During Coronavirus Pandemic

Tim Kelly
April 30, 2020 - 6:08 pm

As MLB, NBA and NHL weigh different options for how to return amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one American sports league will return in May - NASCAR.

Thursday, NASCAR announced that between May 17 and May 27, there will be four cup series races:

“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,” Steve O’Donnell, the NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Thursday. “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 added this note on how it plans to keep drivers and essential employees safe:

"Other adjustments include mandating the use of protective equipment, health screenings for all individuals before entering the facility and maintaining social distancing protocols throughout the event."

Fans will not be permitted to attend any of these races, though it seemingly offers NASCAR a unique opportunity to grab viewers that are desperate for any live sporting event.

For as eager as fans are to see all sports leagues return, this seemingly represents quite a risk.

Darlington Raceway is located in South Carolina. Thursday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that 220 new people were confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state, with 12 more residents having passed away from the virus. The CDC says that 6,095 people in the state have COVID-19, and 244 have been killed by it.

Charlotte Motor Speedway, of course, is located in North Carolina, where there are nearly 10,000 cases of Coronavirus and 354 confirmed deaths.

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