We know two things about the revised NASCAR schedule for 2020 as it relates to the global coronavirus pandemic that all but shut down the sports world in mid-March.
One: There will be no NASCAR racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the weekend of March 15. Two: There will be no NASCAR racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the weekend of March 22.
It’s important to note that NASCAR races at Atlanta and Homestead over the next couple weeks have been postponed, not canceled — at least not yet. As for the following weekend on the NASCAR schedule, when all three national series are scheduled to run at Texas Motor Speedway on March 27-29, the races are on as planned.
Again, for now.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought an unpredictability factor in terms of how all sports, racing included, can proceed. Which is why NASCAR in a statement Friday noted it “will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we assess future race events.”
In other words, more changes can and likely will come.
For now, below is what we know about the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule as it stands, plus the options the sport might weigh as the pandemic continues.
New NASCAR schedule for 2020
* — playoff race
Canceled NASCAR races
As of March 13, no NASCAR races have been canceled. As other sports leagues and organizations have experienced with the coronavirus pandemic, that could quickly change.
From NASCAR’s statement to Fox Sports: “NASCAR remains in daily consultation with public health officials and other prominent sports and entertainment properties. In addition, we have added an infectious disease specialist to our consulting physician group to provide technical assistance and to inform policy.”
It’s currently unclear how canceled races would impact the NASCAR schedule. From Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass:
“NASCAR rules state the playoffs start on Race 27. There is no specification on what would happen if the season is shorter than 36 races. NASCAR has a rule that allows it to change rules at any time: ‘On occasion, circumstances will be presented that are either unforeseen or are otherwise extraordinary, in which strict application of the NASCAR Rules may not achieve this goal. In such rare circumstances, the NASCAR Officials, as a practical matter, may make a determination regarding the conduct of an Event, the eligibility of a Competitor, or similar matters that are not contemplated by or are inconsistent with the NASCAR Rules, in order to achieve this goal.'”
Postponed NASCAR races
NASCAR has a couple options with the two races currently postponed.
The 2020 schedule features three open weekends (April 12, July 26 and Aug. 2), so the Atlanta and Homestead races could be rescheduled in any of those slots. They also could be scheduled in the middle of any given week, although the Homestead race in particular would present logistics/travel issues for teams.
For what it’s worth, both Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway have lights.
NASCAR has not announced when and how it will reschedule the Atlanta and Homestead races — just that they have been postponed.
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