CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR will be one of the first sports to resume at the end of May since the coronavirus pandemic brought it all to a halt. The only thing that will be missing is the fans.
NASCAR announced Thursday it will return to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17, and Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 24.
“NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, and chief racing development officer.
Ty Dillon, Driver of the No. 13 Geico Camaro in the NASCAR Cup Series, said it's been an uncertain process, but with great communication from NASCAR.
"I think a lot was to just wait and see what direction this virus was going to go in, just like everyone else in the country," said Dillon, "Our thoughts and prayers have been with everyone that’s been affected and lost friends and loved ones by this virus."
Dillon, who's originally from Winston-Salem, said he's excited to get back on track.
"I think they’re taking really great precautions based on state and local guidelines and advice as well on how to bring our sport back. I think we’re going to do it in a really safe way and hopefully lead by example for other sports on how they can come back as well," said Dillon.
Races at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be held Sunday, May 24 through Wednesday, May 27.
"Following thorough collaboration with public health officials, medical experts, and state and federal officials, NASCAR has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan," NASCAR said in a news release, "In accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations, nearly every aspect of how the event is conducted will be significantly modified."
That includes one-day shows, use of personal protective equipment throughout the event, health screenings for people in the facility, and while entering and exiting the facility.
"To hopefully have all eyes on us coming up in a few weeks in the middle of a time where everyone is just needing some kind of escape from what’s going on in the world and this pandemic, hopefully, we can provide good entertainment and a fun time coming up soon," said Dillon.