The green flag is coming.
NASCAR‘s race schedule was wrecked just like all the other sports amid the advance of the coronavirus pandemic. Drivers and fans turned to eRacing in droves, with NASCAR’s virtual races drawing more than a million viewers weekly on FS1.
But nothing beats the real thing. And now, live-action racing is scheduled to return. Earlier this week, NASCAR announced that its racing season would resume May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The 400-mile Cup Series race will be the first of seven NASCAR series events scheduled within 11 days.
“Darlington is one of the most iconic and historic tracks in the sport,” racetrack president Kerry Tharp told ESPN. “It will be a tremendous backdrop when NASCAR returns to racing.”
NASCAR to implement guidelines to comply with health concerns
Following the first race on May 17, the next two NASCAR events will also be held at Darlington. An Xfinity Series race is scheduled for May 19, followed by another NASCAR Cup Series race on May 20.
While bettors should have a healthy assortment of wagering options for the upcoming races, the events will feature some significant changes.
First, the Darlington races will not include any practice or qualifying. Fans will not be allowed in the grandstand. Race teams will be reduced to 16 team members, including the driver.
Team members will be spread out in their garages, along with spotters at the track, in order to ensure proper social distancing. Random temperature checks for team members and protective equipment for the pit crew will also be required.
Charlotte will serve as NASCAR’s second stop
After the three races at Darlington, NASCAR will head north for four races in four days at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. That action starts with the Coca-Cola 600, which will mark 60 straight years that NASCAR’s longest race has been held on Memorial Day weekend.
An Xfinity Series race will be held on May 25, followed by a trucks series race on May 26. Then, another cup series race will close out the action on May 27.
Betting odds, daily fantasy contests should be available soon
FanDuel and DraftKings, which have been providing daily fantasy contests for the virtual races, will certainly do the same for the live events.
And with the baseball and basketball seasons sidelined, expect PA online betting apps to provide a number of betting options for the upcoming races.
Television ratings should also skyrocket. The NFL Draft drew a record audience last week and previous virtual races have been drawing millions.
NASCAR also has a tentative schedule for June that will provide plenty of racing for the foreseeable future.
Return of sports a welcome sight
The sports nightmare that swept away nearly two months of action is finally nearing its end. The UFC has a major event in Jacksonville, FL, next week and more fights lined up after that.
A few days later, NASCAR will return too. Race fans can soak up the action with seven races in just a two-week span.
The green flag is coming.
And it will be a welcome sight for all of us.