Racing fans should rejoice with the latest announcement from NASCAR that was sent out on Thursday. Live races will resume on May 17 at Darlington Raceway, and there will be seven races taking place in an 11-day span.
The first three races will all take place at the Darlington Raceway, with the other four events taking place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The live races will be extremely similar to the races that were held prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but the atmosphere and race day schedule will be extremely different.
Darlington Raceway is the oldest superspeedway on the NASCAR circuit, and leaders of NASCAR believe that it is the perfect place to begin racing again. Cup series races will take place on May 17 and 20, with an Xfinity race taking place on May 19.
Racing in Charlotte will begin with a Cup Series race on May 24, and that will kick off four straight days of racing at that venue. May 25 is an Xfinity race, followed by a Truck Series race on May 26, and another Cup series race will cap off a wild eleven days on May 27.
The Coca-Cola 600 will take place on May 24, which is Memorial Day weekend. This race is extremely significant to NASCAR, as it will make 60 straight years that the event has taken place on the same weekend. That is the longest streak in the history of NASCAR.
NASCAR also announced that all of the races that are held in May would be held without fans. The races will be broadcast on national television, and there is sure to be plenty of betting action on each of the races.
Sportsbooks all across the country have been trying to find live sporting events to offer bets on, and the resumption of live auto racing will be a welcome sight. NASCAR has attempted to fill the void through iRacing over the last few weeks, but nothing can replace the real thing.
The first three races at the Darlington Raceway will be done without any qualifying or practice rounds. NASCAR is hoping to run both qualifying and practice rounds at Charlotte the following week, but they are still working to gather more information.
NASCAR will now join UFC as the first two sports to return following the coronavirus pandemic. UFC is set to host a major event on May 9, with other events scheduled to take place throughout May.
NASCAR has been working closely with state and local government agencies to create a plan to return to racing. North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper has given NASCAR the green light to go ahead and race, but only after state health officials made several recommendations that will have to be implemented.
The only people that will be allowed into the racetrack will be licensed NASCAR team members. Everyone will be required to wear cloth face masks. Failure to wear the masks will result in them being removed from the racetrack.
The garage where teams work on vehicles will be spaced out to provide for social distancing guidelines to be met. Spotters will also be spread out to keep proper spacing.
All teams will be limited to just 16 team members, including the driver. Each team is in charge of closely monitoring their team members before, during, and after races.
Live pit stops will be included during the races, which was extremely important to NASCAR. NASCAR wanted the races to look and feel as normal as possible, and those plans were approved by North Carolina health officials.