With a deep breath, we will see live racing on Sunday. No, you will not hear the roar of the crowd, and you won’t see much of a victory lane celebration, but in these days of pandemic, it’s still much better than virtual racing, that depended on how well the driver had experienced the computer program. I had grown tired of the “computer racing.” I’m glad to get back to man and machine. I’m looking forward to real racing.
It’s going to be different, though. Most events this month will probably be one-day events and qualifying based on a draw. Media availability will be shortened to only a few outlets, and driver reactions after the race will be done remotely. Yes, it won’t be the same. Races at Chicagoland, Richmond, and Sonoma will be replaced with the Darlington-Charlotte marathon this month. My sources tell me that Fox will have all races as it stands.
NASCAR is the first major sport trying to do this, so they will be under the microscope, thus the harsh requirements. All must wear masks. Teams are allowed fewer people. Big fines or punishments will follow. Yes, the days of old are gone. Cleanliness is important. Following the rules will depend on whether we see a season or not. MLB, the NBA, and all major sports are watching us. Our success means their success. We must make this work.
So, we head to Darlington, as far as I can tell, the series’ second-oldest track, and have a race. I love Darlington. I’ve covered races there, even when the little red press box used to feel the vibrations when drivers hit the wall in front of it and you had to run to the back of the press box to post stories. It’s altogether good and proper we start this new experiment there. The good news is the statement that we will have a fall race – a throwback race at the track in September if all goes well. It must, not only for NASCAR but all big-time professional sports. Cross your fingers and pray, if you pray, for success this weekend for these races.