NASCAR Homestead, Valencia postponed due to COVID-19

by Justin Nguyen

As COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, continues to sweep the world and force a multitude of sports leagues to cancel or postpone their events, NASCAR’s Cup Series and Whelen Euro Series have taken the latter route for their races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Circuit Ricardo Tormo. In statements on Thursday, Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos A. Gimenez announced 22 March’s Dixie Vodka 400 has been postponed to a yet-to-be-revealed date, while the Euro Series’ 25–26 April GP Spain at Valencia has been moved to 31 October–November 1.

The Homestead race weekend, its first not as the championship finale in November, was impacted by the Miami-Dade County being placed in a state of emergency. In response, Gimenez announced various events, including the Miami Open tennis tournament and events at the American Airlines Arena, have been postponed. The latter, where the Miami Heat play, was already impacted by the National Basketball Association suspending their 2019–20 season as COVID-19 spread among the players.

“The March 22 NASCAR race at the Homestead Miami Speedway is postponed at this time,” Gimenez said. “NASCAR officials will decide whether or not to hold the race without fans.

“As we move forward together during this time, we will continue to monitor what the World Health Organization has determined is a global pandemic. We will constantly evaluate mass gatherings as the situation evolves.”

The Cup Series’ upcoming race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is also up in the air. While NASCAR has not revealed a plan of action for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, measures are being taken in the event that it takes place with fan attendance, including the addition of sanitation stations, moving the driver’s meeting to an open-air location, having drivers pre-sign merchandise with their own writing utensils, and forming a six-foot buffer between various driver and fan areas.

Credit: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

“After conversations with Circuit Ricardo Tormo and the local government, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season opener in Valencia, Spain has been rescheduled due to the ongoing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus),” the Euro Series statement read. “The NASCAR GP Spain at Valencia, previously scheduled for April 25-26, will now take place on October 31st – November 1st.

“All other events are scheduled to proceed as planned. The 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will begin with the June 6-7 NASCAR GP UK at Brands Hatch.

“By serving as the final event of the season, the NASCAR GP Spain will become a playoff event and award double points. The American Festival of Rome at Vallelunga, Italy will be the closing round of the regular season and award standard points.”

UPDATE: NASCAR has confirmed the Homestead and Atlanta races will be run as scheduled and behind closed doors.

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