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NASCAR announces plan to resume racing

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 30, 2020 at 5:37 PM

NASCAR made it official Thursday with a scheduled return to action.

Seven races for its three national series at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway will be packed into an 11-day span, starting on May 17. These will be the first on-track events for each series — Cup, Xfinity and Truck — since mid-March. Each will be a one day event without fans in attendance and with strict limits on the number of individuals granted access to each facility.

The Cup Series will return to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17, with a 400-mile event scheduled for 3:30 p.m., broadcast live on FOX. It will be followed by a 500-kilometer race at Darlington on Wednesday, May 20; the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on Sunday, May 24; and a 500-kilometer race at Charlotte on Wednesday, May 27.

There weren’t any additional dates announced as media outlets reported earlier in the week a race was planned for Bristol Motor Speedway on June 3. There weren’t any additional details in a statement released by BMS on Thursday.

“We are encouraged by NASCAR’s announcement today that it will resume its 2020 season on FOX and FS1 next month with races at Darlington Raceway and our Speedway Motorsports sister track Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the tradition-rich Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “We continue to work with NASCAR to finalize details for the postponed Food City 500 and are looking forward to getting the sport back on track starting in mid-May in Darlington. Hope you’ll tune in, too.”

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief development racing officer, repeatedly said in a Thursday teleconference that plans remain fluid at this point. He expressed a desire to keep the 10-race playoff schedule, which includes the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Sept. 19 at Bristol Motor Speedway, intact.

“Our intent is to run the same number of events we announced at the beginning of the season for all three national series,” O’Donnell said. “Our goal when we put this together was to keep as many races intact as we could.”

With the help of federal, state and local officials, health screenings for all individuals will be conducted prior to entering the venues, while inside the venues and while exiting the venues. There will be mandated use of personal protective equipment, including masks and social distancing protocols for each event.

Point standings will determine the starting lineup for the first races for each series with no practice or qualifying scheduled. NASCAR will determine qualifying procedures for the races that follow. The Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled to have a traditional fast-lap qualifying format.

The opening slate of races is as follows:

Sunday, May 17 — Darlington (Cup), 400 miles, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 19 — Darlington (Xfinity) 200 miles, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, May 20 — Darlington (Cup) 500 k, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 24 — Charlotte (Cup) 600 miles, 6 p.m.

Monday, May 25 — Charlotte (Xfinity) 300 miles, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 26 — Charlotte (Trucks) 200 miles, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, May 27 — Charlotte (Cup) 500 km, 8 p.m.

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