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NASCAR release second phase plans

Nascar

NASCAR Sets Plan For Second Phase Of Return

With its first phase of returning to action set to begin Sunday in Darlington, S.C., NASCAR officials released plans Thursday for their second phase of returning to racing in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

NASCAR Second Phase Plans

On Thursday NASCAR announced plans for events to be run at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega (Al.) Superspeedway. NASCAR’s three national divisions – the Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Gander RV Truck Series will all see action as part of the newly released segment of live events, which runs through June 21.

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The new second phase will see NASCAR continue to run events without fans in attendance.

NASCAR’s first phase of returning to action involves events at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway for its three national divisions, without fans in attendance at any of the events.

“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,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer said in a release. “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.”

Like most major sporting entities, NASCAR suspended all live events in mid-March. NASCAR’s Cup Series had run four of its originally scheduled 36-race season before the shutdown.

This Sunday’s Cup Series event at Darlington – the Real Heroes 400 – will mark the first live return of a major league sporting entity in the US since pandemic shutdowns began.

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NASCAR’s first phase resumption continues with the second tier XFINITY Series racing Tuesday May 19 at Darlington before the Cup Series returns to action on Wednesday May 20 for a night race at Darlington.

NASCAR will then shift to the home base of most of its teams by running its traditional Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24. It will mark the first of four consecutive nights of action at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the XFINITY Series running May 25, the third tier Gander Outdoors Truck Series running May 26 and the Cup Series returning to the track on May 27.

Following the Charlotte events, Bristol Motor Speedway will be the next track on the schedule, hosting an XFINITY Series event on May 30 followed by the Cup Series on May 31. The XFINITY Series and Gander Truck Series will run June 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway followed by a Cup Series event on June 7 at the facility.

Martinsville (Va.) Speedway will host the Cup Series for a Wednesday night event on June 10. NASCAR then heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway with the XFINITY Series and Gander Trucks Series running June 13 followed by a Cup Series and XFINITY Series doubleheader on June 14.

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The second phase of return for NASCAR closes out at Talladega (Al.) Superspeedway with the XFINITY Series running on June 20 and the Cup Series running on June 21.

NASCAR has mandated social distancing practices to be in place for each event and will have health screenings for all team members and race officials. Crew rosters will be limited to no more than 16 individuals for each team, including the team’s driver.

On Thursday NASCAR also announced postponements of formerly scheduled Cup Series events at Kansas Speedway (May 30-31) and Michigan International Speedway (June 5-7).

Shawn Courchesne is an award-winning journalist who has been a sports reporter for 27 years and has covered motorsports professionally since 1995. The New England native spent 19 years as a reporter at the Hartford (CT) Courant, where he primarily covered UConn football & basketball, the NFL, NASCAR and boxing. In 2012 he launched the website RaceDayCT.com, which today is the leading source for New England short track racing news.

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