FLORENCE, S.C. – The Lady in Black could once again give NASCAR a spring whirl – as in the middle of next month.
But it would happen without fans.
That’s because Darlington Raceway reportedly is being considered as a top option for the Cup and Xfinity series’ first races since the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This news was first reported Monday by the Sports Business Journal. It’s uncertain, at this point, if a Darlington race in mid-May would count as the Southern 500 or if that would mean Darlington would host two races in the same season for the first time since 2004. This year's Southern 500 was scheduled before the season to start at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 on NBCSN to start the NASCAR playoffs.
Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp had no comment.
If Darlington is indeed the track where this season resumes, it would convert yet another kind of throwback at a facility so known for throwbacks that the Southern 500 weekend is known as NASCAR’s Official Throwback Weekend. From 2005 until 2013 in May, the Southern 500 was held on either Mother’s Day Weekend or Mother’s Day. In 2014, it was an April Sunday race before the event moved back to Labor Day Weekend the next year.
According to the Sports Business Journal, some racing teams prefer the season to resume at a track within driving distance of Charlotte, North Carolina, instead of Florida.
Of course, Darlington Raceway is.
That way, according to the Sports Business Journal’s story, a Darlington race could be held May 17, and then the series could still compete in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
According to the Sports Business Journal, NASCAR is developing a COVID-19 testing regimen for racing team members and anyone else at races, wherever the season resumes. Also, according to the article, the motorsports sanctioning body probably would limit the number of people at the track overall. Other possibilities could include shorter races and/or no live pit stops.
An eight-time APSE national contest honoree, Scott recently authored his first book,"70 Years of Thrills and Chills, Drama and Dents at Darlington Raceway." In college, Scott played on a tennis scholarship and earned degrees from Young Harris College (Ga.) and Berry College (Ga.).
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