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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.