While NASCAR has made no changes to its schedule, series officials remain in daily consultation about the coronavirus outbreak, and some new procedures have been put in place.
NASCAR sent out a memo outlining operational changes to take effect starting at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Both fans and media will engage with drivers differently as “the health, safety and well-being of our industry, employees, media, fans, and everyone associated with our events remains our top priority.”
- Driver/crew chief meeting: This meeting will be held in open-air locations and attendance will be restricted to drivers, crew chiefs, team owners and select officials and dignitaries.
- Driver at track media availability: Full-field driver availabilities during qualifying, care center availability and post-race bullpen will remain in effect, but with a 6-foot buffer in place.
- Track Services meeting: This meeting will be held in open-air locations across all series.
- Team haulers: NASCAR recommends that access to team haulers be restricted to necessary personnel at team’s discretion.
- Driver appearances: Should be structured to ensure that drivers are visible to fans in an open-air setting, such as Q&A sessions.
- Driver autographs: Drivers should pre-sign items whenever possible, carry their own Sharpie and hero cards should be the primary form for all autographs.
- Driver introductions, pre-race grid and victory lane: NASCAR will provide a 6-foot buffer around the grid and driver introduction stage.
An infectious disease specialist has also been added to the consulting physician group, which will be at the racetrack. They will provide technical assistance and to inform policy.
Last week, NASCAR officials released a joint statement with ARCA and IMSA saying no disruptions to the racing schedule were anticipated, but that they would implement precautions if necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 23 cases of coronavirus in Georgia. All three NASCAR national series will be in action at the 1.5-mile facility in Hampton, Georgia, this weekend.