DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) – The latest news on NASCAR’s return to Darlington Raceway (local time):
NASCAR President and CEO Jim France is at Darlington Raceway and will stay out of the inner field.
France, 75 years old, is considered to be at high risk of contracting the coronavirus. NASCAR director Steve O’Donnell posted an audio on Twitter in which France grabs the PA microphone in the rating tower and thanks “the whole industry for their efforts to get us back on track.”
About 900 essential people have been approved to be inside the doors.
NASCAR is back on track after a 10-week layoff in the midst of the global pandemic. The Real Heroes 400 starts at 3 p.m.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps promises “the best racing and racing experience possible every time we reach the racetrack.”
Phelps posted a letter to NASCAR fans on Sunday, hours before the series returned to the track for the first time in more than two months.
“Our drivers, race teams and officials have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to return to the race track and we want to assure you that we have taken returning to racing very seriously,” wrote Phelps.
NASCAR chose Darlington, the oldest speed track on the Cup circuit, as the safest place to restart the season after the postponement of eight events, and the series was inactive for 10 weeks amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
NASCAR was facing a financial collapse if live racing did not resume on national television. The sanctioning body therefore had its health plan approved in South Carolina and North Carolina and published an aggressive schedule of 20 races in seven southern states by June 21.
The first event is called “The Real Heroes 400” and is dedicated to healthcare workers who are fighting COVID-19. Health workers will give orders to start the engines.
Darlington is hosting three events over four days. About 900 essential people have been approved to be inside the doors.
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