NASCAR returns to Darlington with 3 races over 4 days
NASCAR announced Thursday its schedule for returning to racing.
Darlington Raceway will host two Cup events and one Xfinity race in a four-day span from May 17-20.
Here are five things to know about racing at Darlington for those days:
WILL THE RACES BE TELEVISED?
Yes. The Cup race on May 17 will be on Fox at 3:30 p.m. The Xfinity race on May 19 and Cup race on May 20 will be on FS1. The Xfinity race is at 8 p.m., and the Cup race starts at 7:30 p.m.
The races also will be carried on the radio on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
WILL FANS BE ALLOWED TO ATTEND?
There will be no spectators allowed at the Darlington races (or any of NASCAR’s May races). Darlington Raceway president Kerry Tharp said Thursday that he is hopeful fans will be allowed to attend the Southern 500 at the track Sept. 6, but no one is sure how that will look if social distancing rules remain in effect. For now, the Southern 500 still is expected to be the first race of the Cup Series playoffs.
Darlington Raceway also said it will not permit any type of
camping or tailgating on the property during these races.
“That is going to be unusual to race here at Darlington without the stands or infield packed. Now isn’t the time for that,” Tharp said.
WILL THERE BE PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING BEFORE THE RACE?
Teams can’t practice before the Darlington races, and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on May 24 will be the only race in May with qualifying. The first Darlington Cup race order will be set on Cup Series point standings.
After the first race, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said there will be some things they will do to mix it up to determine race lineup and pit selection.
WILL NASCAR TEST FOR THE CORONAVIRUS OR DO ANTIBODY TESTING?
No. NASCAR vice president for racing operations John Bobo said Thursday they are asking participants and organizations to self-monitor people for five days for symptoms before they arrive at the track. Once arriving at track, people’s temperatures will be taken randomly as needed. Symptomatic patients will be processed and removed from the event and given medical attention.
If a driver or crew member is symptomatic, they won’t be allowed to participate and must self-isolate for 14 days. NASCAR will have to grant a driver a waiver so he can still qualify for the playoffs despite missing a race.
WILL THERE BE A VICTORY LANE CELEBRATION FOR THE WINNING DRIVER?
That part is unclear right now. O’Donnell said there are plans to have a celebration around the start/finish line, but NASCAR is unsure if there will be a traditional Victory Lane celebration.
“We certainly want to try and have a trophy, at least that celebration with the driver,” O’Donnell said.
NEW NASCAR SCHEDULE
Sunday, May 17, Cup Series
3:30 p.m., at Darlington Raceway (400 miles)
Tuesday, May 19, Xfinity Series
8 p.m., at Darlington Raceway (200 miles)
Wednesday, May 20, Cup Series
7:30 p.m., at Darlington Raceway (500 kilometers)
Sunday, May 24, Cup Series
6 p.m., at Charlotte Motor Speedway (600 miles)
Monday, May 25, Xfinity Series
7:30 p.m., at Charlotte Motor Speedway (300 miles)
Tuesday, May 26, Gander Trucks
8 p.m., at Charlotte Motor Speedway (200 miles)
Wednesday, May 27, Cup Series
8 p.m., at Charlotte Motor Speedway (500 kilometers)
The Southern 500 will still run in September at Darlington Raceway.