To little surprise, the 2020 NASCAR season is now officially on hiatus until May. On Monday, NASCAR announced all races will be postponed through 3 May, effectively leaving the sport frozen for the next six weeks in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) recommendation that public events of at 50 or more people be suspended for a similar time frame. As such, the soonest that fans will see the return is the Martinsville Speedway weekend.
“The health and safety of our fans, industry and the communities in which we race is our most important priority, so in accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return racing in Martinsville,” the statement read. “We appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to returning to the racetrack. We intend to hold all 36 races this season, with future rescheduling soon to be determined as we continue to monitor this situation closely with public health officials and medical experts.
“What is important now transcends the world of sports and our focus is on everyone’s safety and well-being as we navigate this challenging time together.”
Last Friday, NASCAR announced the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway rounds would be indefinitely postponed. The announcement came as multiple sporting leagues did the same with their events as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the world, with other motorsports like Formula One, IndyCar, MotoGP, and Formula E doing the same with their races. Unlike F1 and IndyCar, both of whom were forced to call off their season openers, the NASCAR year was already four weekends in.
With the postponement, the Texas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Dover International Speedway weekends will not be run as scheduled, bringing the total up to seven. Texas and Bristol had initially remained committed to their races despite the former’s local government declaring a state of emergency, but NASCAR’s announcement effectively ended any hopes of either race being run. Unlike Atlanta and Homestead, however, the five tracks have second dates on the Cup Series calendar.
For the Xfinity Series, the postponement wipes out their four support races at Texas, Bristol, Talladega, and Dover in addition to Atlanta and Homestead. The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series loses five races with Atlanta, Homestead, Texas, Richmond, and Dover.
Although the NASCAR statement clarified the sanctioning body’s intention to run the full Cup schedule, their particular plan of action is unknown.
The affected tracks issued statements shortly after the declaration.
“With the health and safety of fans, staff, competitors, race teams and media our top priority, NASCAR and Texas Motor Speedway have postponed the upcoming O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 race weekend activities to a yet-to-be determined future date,” TMS said, adding that ticketholders may receive a refund or credit for races at other Speedway Motorsports, Incorporated tracks.
“What truly makes Bristol Motor Speedway special is not only the exciting racing, but the incredible family reunion feel that exists when all of our fans, guests, community members and businesses come together for a race weekend,” Bristol general manager Jerry Caldwell said. “That’s why I support NASCAR’s decision to postpone our NASCAR spring event to a later date. The health and safety of everyone who attends races at Bristol Motor Speedway is our top priority and this step has been taken so that everyone can follow the recommended guidelines as advised by government officials.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been affected by this pandemic. Once we have a confirmed rescheduled date, we will inform you as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience during this time and we look forward to having all of you here once again at the Last Great Colosseum.”
Richmond president Dennis Bickmeier stated, “As a sport and community, we are united in the best interests of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, stakeholders, and track personnel. “As this dynamic situation continues to evolve, we will continue to work closely with our federal, state, local, and public health officials. We look forward to brighter and healthier days ahead in the greater Richmond region when NASCAR returns to Richmond Raceway.”