NASCAR Makes Significant Change to Mask Policy

Getty NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

Thursday morning, NASCAR made a major change to its race day policies. The sanctioning body revealed that it will no longer require masks in the garages and pit areas, starting this weekend at Dover International Speedway. However, teams will still have to wear masks inside buildings, haulers, or any other enclosed spaces. They will also have to wear masks in areas where state or local mandates require such use.

According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, NASCAR looked at the outdoor transmission rate of COVID and decided that the coming weekend was the best time to relax requirements. These policies originally began in May 2020 when stock car racing returned from an extended postponement.

Last weekend at Darlington marked another major change in NASCAR policies. Throwback Weekend was the first time that a limited number of fully vaccinated media members and guests could head to the garages and pit areas. These select guests had limited access to the special paint schemes highlighting Richard Petty, Wendell Scott, Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, and other racing legends.

The change coincides with a sizable number of guests attending races at Dover

GettyNASCAR fans

When the teams head out to compete at the Monster Mile, they will do so in front of an estimated 20,000 guests. The state of Delaware gave Dover permission to host a limited-capacity crowd in the grandstands, resulting in the Cup Series race selling out.

These fans will have to continue following state guidelines as they attend the tripleheader weekend. They will have to wear masks and social distance while in the grandstands or concession lines. They will also not have access to the infield just yet.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding we heard from fans during our reseating process and we look forward to welcoming them back in the grandstands this weekend,” said Mike Tatoian, Dover International Speedway’s track president, per Jayski. “We thank not only our fans for their continued loyalty and enthusiasm, but also Delaware public health officials for their confidence in us to host this weekend’s races safely.”

A quartet of drivers will try to break a tie at Dover International Speedway

GettyKyle Busch and Ryan Newman

When Jimmie Johnson retired from the Cup Series and headed to IndyCar, he took with him a history of production at the Monster Mile. Johnson was the active wins leader at the one-mile concrete oval after reaching Victory Lane 11 times. Now, however, there are four men locked in a tie.

Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. all have three wins apiece at Dover. Newman dominated in the early 2000s while Truex and Harvick last won in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Busch took his last checkered flag at Dover in 2017.

Fast-forward to 2021, and Truex will inevitably enter the weekend as one of the favorites to win. He has three victories through the first 12 races and led nearly 250 laps at Darlington. Now he will try to win his fourth race while facing 7-2 odds. Kyle Larson, the winner of the Pennzoil 400, has the second-best odds at 9-2, per NASCAR. Harvick has 7-1 odds and Busch has 8-1 odds. Newman has 150-1 odds due to last winning a Cup race in 2017.

The Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. FS1 will broadcast the race while MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide audio coverage. The full Fox cast will be on hand for race day, including Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer in the booth. Chris Myers will run the on-site pre-race show while Jamie Little and Regan Smith will serve as pit reporters. Larry McReynolds will be on hand to serve as the studio analyst.

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