Three NASCAR tracks have lost dates on the 2020 schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NASCAR confirmed on Friday that it will not make up the spring Richmond race weekend, and has canceled its events at Sonoma Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway in June. All three tracks have had their races realigned to Darlington and Charlotte, where the sport will hold races in the coming weeks as it returns to action for the first time since early March.
The NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series races at Chicagoland have been reallocated to Darlington on May 17 and 19. Richmond’s spring Cup Series race has been switched to become the May 20 Darlington race. Sonoma’s Cup Series race has been changed to Charlotte on May 27.
“Due to the current pandemic, NASCAR has faced several difficult decisions, including realigning race dates from several tracks,” a NASCAR statement read. “These decisions were made following thorough collaboration with local and state government officials from across the country, including the areas of the affected racetracks. We thank all our fans for their support, and we look forward to our return to racing.”
Richmond had been one of the original races postponed due to the pandemic. The Virginia track was to host racing on April 17-19.
“As a sport, we continue to be united in the best interests of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, stakeholders, and track personnel,” said Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier. “There will be brighter and healthier days ahead in the greater Richmond region when NASCAR returns to Richmond Raceway for the NASCAR playoff race weekend on Sept. 11-12. We look forward to NASCAR’s best getting back on track at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17, as we launch a new countdown to the return of racing in RVA this fall.”
Sonoma was to host the NASCAR Cup Series on June 14, and now faces the first disruption to its NASCAR date since it first began hosting the series in 1989.
“We work all year for this event, so this is a huge disappointment for us, for our fans and our sponsors, but we realize it’s part of a larger challenge facing our nation and everyone in the live events business,” said track president and general manager Steve Page. “We are excited that NASCAR is coming back to broadcast television and are ready to support the upcoming events at our Speedway Motorsports tracks. We look forward to NASCAR’s return to Sonoma in 2021.”
Chicagoland was to hold races on the weekend of June 21.
“The difficult decision to realign our race events was a combination of where we fell on the schedule, proximity to NASCAR’s teams and the safety and well-being of our community and larger NASCAR industry,” Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock said in a statement released on social media. “We will miss the roar of the engines at Chicagoland Speedway this season, but we will be rooting for and supporting our NASCAR colleagues at Darlington Raceway as competition returns on Sunday, May 17.”