HUNTINGTON — Things have been dormant in the sports world for nearly two months. In the middle of May, NASCAR plans to change that in an effort to resume some form of normalcy.
On Thursday, NASCAR announced a revised May schedule that includes seven races — four of which are Cup Series events — in an 11-day span at two tracks: Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
There will be no fans allowed at these events due to continued concerns over COVID-19, but the return to live racing is a step in the right direction, according to Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
“NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community,” O’Donnell said through release. “We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.”
Racing returns to the round track on May 17 at Darlington Raceway with a NASCAR Cup Series event, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The race will be a 400-mile event and be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Three days later, the Cup Series will host another race at Darlington Raceway — this one a Wednesday evening event that will span 500 kilometers (310.7 miles).
The following week, NASCAR is back to one of its premier races in the annual schedule: the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend.
The May 24 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 600-mile race that starts at 6 p.m. and will be shown nationally on FOX.
On May 27, Charlotte will also host another Cup Series event at 8 p.m. Like the Wednesday race at Darlington, it will be a 500 kilometer event shown on FS1.
The schedule currently runs through only May as the fluid situation with COVID-19 response continues. NASCAR plans to unveil future schedules at a later time after working with government officials and the CDC to ensure safety.
For those May races, there will be no practice sessions.
The only qualifying event that will take place occurs prior to the Coca Cola 600.
Thursday’s release did say that NASCAR plans a full 36-event schedule and to keep its 10-race postseason format in tact.
NASCAR’s last race came on March 8 at Phoenix Raceway when Joey Logano won for the second time on the year. Following that race, the next eight scheduled events were postponed.
In addition to the Cup Series races on the aforementioned dates, there are also a pair of Xfinity Series events — May 19 at Darlington and May 25 at Charlotte — as well as a Gander Trucks Series event at Charlotte on May 26.