I needed a cupcake.
Like a relationship suddenly ending or the sun quickly giving way to a monsoon, my emotions took a hit with NASCAR’s announcement Monday night. Even though realistically, I knew that there was a possibility another engine wouldn’t crank for quite a while, the official declaration of seven total races – so far – being postponed was a punch in the gut.
So, I took a big bite of a Snickers-flavored cupcake and reminded myself to breathe.
At a minimum, it will be just shy of two months before another lap is turned; before I can write about what took place on the racetrack instead of finding ways to pass the time talking about what is happening off it.
Again, I had a feeling this could be coming, given how other professional sports leagues and motorsports sanctioning bodies had already reacted, plus the CDC recommendation Sunday night to cancel all events with 50 or more people. But it’s weird to now face such a reality.
This past weekend, when NASCAR would have been racing in Atlanta, it felt like an off weekend. But by now, the sport would have been preparing for another race weekend. Paint schemes would be making the rounds on social media. Pre-race advances hitting inboxes. Previews and press conference schedules beginning to take shape.
Instead, race shops continue to close. Employees are being told to either stay home or cutting the size of their staff allowed in the building. Some smaller operations with an already smaller staff like Front Row Motorsports told RACER they were operating like normal but with the necessary health precautions.
Drivers like Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola made unique appearances on “SportsCenter” over the weekend via video connection. Others like Hailie Deegan, Jeremy Clements, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, and Riley Herbst, to name a few, have been doing digital autographs.
Sunday afternoon, drivers, PR reps, spotters, and others from within the industry participated in an iRacing event called The Replacements 100. It was streamed on Twitch and appeared to receive praise from many online who were starved for racing action. Josh Williams, Ryan Blaney’s spotter, won the race.
Wood Brothers Racing has gone above and beyond for the community. WBR posted online Sunday night they were donating $1,500 and accepting donations to buy tablets for local nursing home residents and assisted living facilities. Because elderly individuals are at a higher risk of COVID-19, they cannot have visitors. By providing tablets, they will still be able to talk to their loved ones.
Personally, when it comes to the prospect of providing content for everyone here on RACER, it’s a bit terrifying to picture what the next seven or so weeks will look like. There is still a desire to tell stories and stay busy during this unique time, and hopefully, teams and drivers will be accommodating as we all navigate uncharted waters.
It is all so overwhelming and sad. And so, I’m going to dig back to this cupcake and will worry about it all when it won’t take my breath away.