NASCAR's empty-oval return means lost races at 3 tracks

NASCAR (AFP)
NASCAR (AFP)

American stock car auto racing's comeback later this month from the coronavirus pandemic will cost three tracks their 2020 season races with more schedule adjustments coming soon.

That was the word on Friday from the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), the closed-cockpit series that is the most popular form of US auto racing.

Races at Sonoma, California; Joliet, Illinois and Richmond, Virginia were named those moved to ovals without spectators this month to jumpstart the US revival of sport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

Sonoma Raceway officials said the road course tried to find a new date to replace 14 June but couldn't "given the ongoing uncertainty around large events in California."

It will be staged instead on 27 May at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which will host a regularly scheduled race three days earlier in what will essentially be made-for-television events.

A planned 21 June race at Chicagoland will be the 17 May comeback event at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina while the Richmond race that was to have been 19 April with be 20 May at Darlington, which like Charlotte is near the base of operations for most NASCAR teams.

"Due to the current pandemic, NASCAR has faced several difficult decisions, including realigning race dates from several race tracks," the series said in a statement.

"These decisions were made following thorough collaboration with local and state government officials from across the country, including the areas of the affected race tracks."

And, NASCAR hinted, they won't be the last, saying future adjustments "will be released in the near future," officials seeking to minimize travel demands on teams.

Other races are scheduled nationwide through November.

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