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NASCAR COVID-19 Update: What 2020 Schedule Looks Like for Cup, Xfinity, Trucks

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In less than three weeks, expect NASCAR Cup Series engines to roar again in 2020.

The sport’s top division is scheduled to return May 17 beginning at Darlington Raceway, sources have confirmed to Frontstretch.

Top officials shared a revised tentative schedule with Cup teams on Monday (April 27). The list has Darlington and Charlotte Motor Speedway each holding two consecutive races to resume the season.

As Autoweek first reported, the Cup Series will return from its break with a 400-mile race at the Track Too Tough to Tame. Three days later, on May 20, the Cup Series will return to Darlington for a 310-mile event.

The season will continue on Sunday, May 24, with Charlotte Motor Speedway’s annual Coca-Cola 600. The sport’s longest event is scheduled to remain a full 600-mile race. Come Wednesday, May 27, Cup will run in its backyard again, scheduling a 300-mile race on the 1.5-mile oval.

Next up comes a stop at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, May 31. That race remains on the list even though the state of Virginia has a stay-at-home-order in effect until June 10.

On Wednesday, June 3, Cup will head to Bristol Motor Speedway. They’ll go next to Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 7 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 14.

Seven of these eight races on the schedule are within roughly four hours of NASCAR’s hub in Charlotte. All of these events will be one-day shows with no practice or qualifying, except for the Coca-Cola 600, as The Athletic reported. There will be no fans in attendance.

On the Door Bumper Clear Podcast this week, NASCAR spotters Brett Griffin, TJ Majors and Freddie Kraft mentioned the possibility of having three crew members go over the wall at the same time to change tires during pit stops. Following their service, those crew members would go back behind the wall so the gas man can could fuel the car and make adjustments. However, The Athletic reported NASCAR will move forward with live pit stops.

Last week, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper stated NASCAR teams could return to work in their respective race shops. As of Monday, essential personnel returned to those facilities to start preparing racecars for upcoming events.

On Tuesday, Cooper added, “Unless health conditions go down, we believe we can hold the Coca-Cola 600.”

And what about the Xfinity Series? Sources have told Frontstretch it could potentially be anywhere from two to four weeks following the May 17 start date that other divisions, like Xfinity, would return to the racetrack. The plan is still to get all 33 races in, though the dates are still fluid.

There is a scheduled meeting with select Xfinity team owners in the coming days to lay out a potential resumption of the season. NASCAR is expected to survey owners to see if multiple races on the same weekend, in different states, would be feasible to accomplish.

Over the past seven weeks, some Xfinity team owners have had trouble getting Small Business Administration loans, having to lay off employees. Other teams are sitting in good shape, though the longer the stoppage goes, the worse off every team will be.

The sport’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series also remains in limbo. But there’s less urgency in getting it back up and running with only 21 events remaining on their schedule.

At time of print, a NASCAR representative who works specifically with the Xfinity Series did not respond to a request for comment from Frontstretch

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Bill B

So three races at Darlington this year? (I am assuming the scheduled race on Sept 6th that kicks off the chase as well). If there is any track that they could run repeatedly without getting boring, it’s Darlington (Martinsville too). Looks like they will be making up the schedule as the go along with no regard to which tracks.

Jake

Fine with me. Would rather have racing than no racing.

iceman202290

Use this as a good time to test some things out for 2021 possibly?

Martinsville yes….that is if they fixed this short track package. If for some reason it was still Martinsville 2019…no haha.

The unique thing about NASCAR is..no fans in attendance.. this will not impact the overall product like it will with other sports. Like WWE is doing matches with no fans and what a massive difference in the product.

Bill B

Agree about 2019 Martinsville. I kind of forgot about that because I am so used to Martinsville always being a good race. Thanks for the reminder.

Regarding no fans, I read somewhere that the NHL said if they were to play without fans they would have to pipe in fan noise because it just isn’t the same when there is no noise. I tend to agree. But the fan noise at a race is barely noticeable over the roar of the engines so it will be just fine.

DoninAjax

No fans means no beer sales. Not likely.

Bill B

Desperate times DoninAjax. This way they can at least feed the beast…. television. So it’s very likely that they will settle for no fans. I bet the tracks will be getting compensated above the pre-corona contract agreement to some (small) degree by Fox and/or NASCAR. What choice do the have anyway…. nothing or something.

iceman202290

They may have to also run a delay cause the amount of *crap* talking that goes on during the games would be easily picked up by the mics.

Pumping in fan noise I think would help. They would have to assign rules. Funny how I believe it was the Falcons who got caught pumping in fan noise a few years back and now we are talking about doing it as common practice

DoninAjax – beer sales is a penny to a hundred dollar bill when compared to the TV contract revenue.

Ricardo

The Autoweek link said “The races will be unlikely to contain live pit stops, which would mean five additional crew members not even needed at the track.”

This article describes three man plus gas man pit stops and says “However, The Athletic reported NASCAR will move forward with live pit stops.”

This article seems to be contradicting the Autoweek article. I am confused as to how you have a race without “live” pit stops?? What is the alternative to live pit stop anyway??

Bill B

Freezing the field and pitting the cars during a commercial. You come out in the same order you entered (unless there is a reason for extensive work to be done beyond the usual). Instead of rushing for 13 second pit stops they might be up to 25 seconds allowed and you don’t gain or lose your spot as long as you don’t exceed the limit.

This will take an exciting aspect of the race away but a lot of us probably feel too much is decided by pit stops anyway and not on the track racing.

janice

I still haven’t seen anything on na$cars site.

I’ll be the cynic in the group and will wait to see the official official revised schedule.

Bill B

You might not see an “official” revised schedule. It appears to me they will make it up as they go along. Aiming for 36 races but they don’t care what tracks they run to make that goal. Darlington is already getting 2 spring races when they were only scheduled for 1 IN SEPTEMBER (for a total of 3?). I am guessing that there will be at least 3 races at Charlotte this year (including the roval in October). Meanwhile tracks in states that aren’t willing to open the gates will lose their race this year. We might actually see most of the races run in the southeast this year (talk about a throw back season).

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