NASCAR returns in Darlington with The Real Heroes 400 today, Sunday, May 17 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox. NASCAR has announced a new schedule of Cup Series races through June 21 as it resumes the 2020 season after halting competition in March as a response to COVID-19.
NASCAR joins UFC as the first major pro sports to resume competition in the United States since the entire industry hit pause to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus. The PGA Tour will resume play in June as the NBA and MLB continue to create plans for games start. The expectation is that NASCAR will continue to announce more races have been added back to the calendar in the coming weeks.
“As we prepare for our return to racing at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, the industry has been diligent in building the return-to-racing schedule,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said in a statement. “We are eager to expand our schedule while continuing to work closely with the local governments in each of the areas we will visit. We thank the many government officials for their guidance, as we share the same goal in our return – the safety for our competitors and the communities in which we race.”
NASCAR Has Revised Rules as a Response to COVID-19
NASCAR is back but it is not the same sport that we saw just a few months ago. Thousands of fans will absent from the grandstands and each driver’s crew will be limited to 16 members, per ESPN. Team members will go through a health screening process to enter the track. There will be random testing that will take place, and anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will have to be replaced as they self-isolate. Cloth masks will also be required with non-compliance resulting in a fine.
Given the popularity of the iRACING contests, NASCAR is hoping to take advantage of a light sports calendar with the majority of major sports leagues still on hiatus. NASCAR is using Darlington as a test run before the sport’s marquee race next Sunday in Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend.
“The attraction to Charlotte was pretty obvious once we realized that the schedule changes were going to slide into April and looking toward May,” O’Donnell told ESPN. “It’s home. Most teams can drive there in minutes, so there’s no air travel and no hotel rooms. It’s also the same type of racetrack [a 1.5-mile intermediate oval vs. two-plus-mile superspeedways, winding road courses or half-mile short tracks] as the races we had to postpone at Atlanta, Homestead and Texas, so race teams should have the inventory of cars and engines for that type of racetrack ready to go.”
Here is a look at the new NASCAR schedule through June 21.
New NASCAR Schedule 2020
NASCAR has announced a revised schedule for Cup Series races through June 21.
|May 17||Real Heroes 400 (Darling.)||3:30 p.m. Fox|
|May 24||Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte)||6 p.m. Fox|
|May 31||Food City 500 (Bristol)||3:30 p.m. FS1|
|June 7||Fields of Honor 500 (ATL)||3 p.m. Fox|
|June 14||Dixie Vodka 400 (Miami)||3:30 p.m. Fox|
|June 21||Geico 500 (Talladega)||3 p.m. Fox|