Reports: NASCAR to relaunch season with Darlington race
By Bobby Bryant
NASCAR had to suspend its racing season in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but now there are indications the races might resume – in Darlington – but without fans in the stands.
After a flurry of website and newspaper reports quoting anonymous sources as saying that Darlington Raceway is “one of the top options” under consideration for restarting the season in mid-May, a state official said last week there will be a Darlington race this spring.
Duane Parrish, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said NASCAR does plan a spring race here, but he didn’t say when. Raceway officials have declined to comment, but sports websites The Athletic and Sports Business Journal quoted sources as saying that it would be in mid-May and that no fans would be allowed to attend because of coronavirus fears.
The Sports Business Journal report said NASCAR might “reduce the length of races or eliminate live pit stops for a number of weeks to keep the total industry attendance at a minimum.”
The report by The Athletic says NASCAR would like to resume the racing season at Darlington, hold another no-fans-allowed race Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, then another at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
At this point, Darlington’s annual Southern 500 is still scheduled for Sept. 6. Will fans be allowed to attend Darlington’s biggest sports event of the year? No one has addressed that issue yet.