NASCAR will become one of the first professional sports to return to action since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the United States. While the sport will return with no fans in the stands, the physical amount of people required to put on a NASCAR race has led many to wonder how the sanctioning body intends on making sure the virus doesn’t reach to and spread through their garage area.
NASCAR has issued a lengthy 34-page event operations protocol to teams and team members for the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17th.
The document, which was obtained by TobyChristie.com through an anonymous source, includes an introduction from NASCAR President, Steve Phelps.
In total, there are seven separate chapter sections within the highly detailed document.
Possibly the most intriguing portion of the protocol is the schedule for pre-entry screening into the speedway.
As you can see, it’s a packed schedule from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Things will start with the AMR medical team arriving for their screenings at 6:00 AM, followed by NASCAR officials at 6:30 AM. Then, the various vendors at the speedway will head through screenings in separate chunks from 6:45 AM to 7:15 AM.
Road crews will arrive four teams at a time from 7:30 AM to 9:45 AM.
Next, pit crews will take their trip through the screening process in separate groups between 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM.
Lastly, the spotters will be screened on their way to the spotter’s stand. The spotters will arrive in two separate groups at 11:45 AM and 12:00 PM.
The list seems quite organized, but with how thorough and necessary the time is from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM, it gives insight into why NASCAR will not have any practice sessions in any of their events at Darlington and Charlotte over the next couple of weeks, and why Qualifying will only exist for the Coca-Cola 600.
The screening process will consist of a COVID-19 questionnaire as well as temperature checks, but not official COVID-19 tests.
Among the other details included in the document, is the fact that all participants at the track will have to submit a completed HIPPA waiver and COVID-19 waiver as well as taking a COVID-19 screen from their employer prior to being added to an organizational roster.
The document also encourages members who are at high-risk to not participate in the event. The document refers to a CDC.gov link that defines who is considered “high risk.”
According to the CDC, anyone over 65-years old or anyone who suffers from chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma or have serious heart conditions or are immunocompromised, severely obese (BMI of 40 or more) or have diabetes, chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis or people with liver disease.
As expected, members will be screened before, during and after events. Members going from multiple areas — for instance the garage, the media area or others — could be screened each time they enter a new area of the track.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.