By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The inevitable is sealed. No NASCAR action through May 3rd due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that’s severely impacted all businesses, sporting events and society around the world.
NASCAR issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
“The health and safety of our fans, industry and the communities in which we race is our most important priority, so in accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return racing in Martinsville. We appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to returning to the racetrack.
“We intend to hold all 36 races this season, with future rescheduling soon to be determined as we continue to monitor this situation closely with public health officials and medical experts. What is important now transcends the world of sports and our focus is on everyone’s safety and well-being as we navigate this challenging time together.”
This past Friday, NASCAR sent everyone who were already at Atlanta Motor Speedway packing as they postponed not only all track activities in Georgia, but also postponed what was intended to be this weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
With Monday’s announcement, the following race weekends affected by the health crisis are Texas Motor Speedway (March 27-29 for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks), Bristol Motor Speedway (April 4-5 for Cup and Xfinity), Richmond Raceway (April 18-19 for Cup and Trucks), Talladega Superspeedway (April 25-26 for Cup and Xfinity) and Dover International Speedway (May 1-3 for all three).
Due to this, the earliest NASCAR can return will be Saturday May 9 when the Cup Series run their first-ever night race at Martinsville Speedway for the running of the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.
The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series won’t return until May 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Same goes for the Xfinity Series when they run the 1.5-mile circuit May 23.
Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier commented that they’ll be working with the state of Virginia in a time where he feels safety is paramount.
“As a sport and community, we are united in the best interests of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, stakeholders, and track personnel,” Bickmeier said. “As this dynamic situation continues to evolve, we will continue to work closely with our federal, state, local, and public health officials. We look forward to brighter and healthier days ahead in the greater Richmond region when NASCAR returns to Richmond Raceway.”
Texas Motor Speedway President and General Manager Eddie Gossage is hoping to have the spring race rescheduled as soon as more information is given. At this time, he encourages fans to maintain their tickets if indeed they can set a makeup date.
“Considering the circumstances that NASCAR had no choice but to postpone the race, we obviously support that because public safety comes first,” Gossage said. “As soon as we have information on the rescheduled date, we will share it with our fans but we encourage them to hold onto their tickets and plan to join us for the rescheduled O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. It’s always the right time to do the right thing and we’re going to do right by our fans.”
Time will tell how race teams will be impacted because of Monday’s announcement, but one team already made up their minds and that’s Sam Hunt Racing. The Xfinity Series team announced Sunday they’ll temporarily suspend official operations until further notice.
“We ask that everyone prioritize their health and the health of our neighbors during this time, and look forward to resuming our normal operations once a timeline from both government officials and NASCAR are released,” SHR’s statement as to why they closed shop.
Not just the national touring series won’t be competing, but also the ARCA Menards Series (East and West included) and Whelen Modified Tour followed suit.
Motorsports Tribune will continue to provide updates regarding events impacted by COVID-19 as it becomes officially available.