The 2020 NASCAR season is officially on hold. On Friday, with the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series preparing for racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR announced it has postponed the upcoming races at Atlanta and Homestead-Miami Speedway in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“NASCAR has decided to postpone the race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend,” a NASCAR statement read. “We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport. We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we assess future race events.”
COVID-19, also simply referred to as the coronavirus, has forced numerous racing cancellations and postponements worldwide, including Formula One, IndyCar, Formula E, and MotoGP. The Atlanta and Homestead weekends were already facing uncertainty in the week leading up to the former, with Homestead in particular being placed under potential postponement following a legal legislative order before NASCAR elected to run both races behind closed doors.
Once teams arrived at Atlanta on Friday, they experienced a tumultuous schedule management as NASCAR shuffled dates around, including possibly moving the Cup race to Saturday before finally choosing to postpone the weekend. While the decision to delay the races was questioned as personnel had already reached the speedway, driver Austin Theriault speculates it is due to timing as President Donald Trump is reportedly declaring the virus a national emergency.
“My guess is they didn’t see that coming,” Theriault tweeted in response to fellow racer Matt Tifft.
The pandemic has also forced NASCAR’s lower series to reschedule their events. On Thursday, Las Vegas Motor Speedway announced the Whelen All-American Series race at its Bullring has been moved from the upcoming Saturday to July, while the Whelen Modified Tour‘s season opener at South Boston Speedway has been postponed.