Two Stewart-Haas Racing employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the team confirmed Friday night. On Saturday, Team Penske also announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 among its team members.
The SHR team members, who were not identified, work in the Kannapolis, North Carolina race shop and do not travel to the racetrack. Employees were sent home on Tuesday after learning they could have been exposed to COVID-19.
NASCAR encouraged all organizations to keep its road crew and shop crews separate when implementing safety protocols ahead of the sport’s return to racing in May.
“Stewart-Haas Racing has experienced two positive COVID-19 test results, neither of which involve personnel who travel to race events,” said a team statement. “Robust protocols have been in place and continue to be followed diligently to mitigate the spread of the virus while maintaining the health and safety of all members of the organization and greater community.”
The Penske organization released the following statement on Saturday:
“Earlier this week, Team Penske had one of its team members report positive for COVID-19. This employee has been in quarantine all week and has recovered without any further symptoms. Due to the team’s stringent protocols, only a few of our personnel had reason to quarantine and none of those individuals are experiencing any symptoms. The identities of those impacted, along with additional details, will not be released due to privacy concerns.”
NASCAR does not test for COVID-19 at the track. However, it does conduct health screenings before competitors and other personnel are allowed on the property, including a temperature check. Those granted access to the racetrack remains limited; teams are required to wear face masks and social distance and avoid mingling with others by following laid out paths in the garage area.
NASCAR officials have said more than once that they are satisfied with the effectiveness of current virus protocols. Earlier this week, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell reiterated those comments when asked if there have been any positive cases in the sport.
“We’ve certainly had some folks who may have presented some symptoms that we’ve turned away early,” said O’Donnell. “That’s up to them to disclose if there were any issues in terms of did someone have COVID or not, but I would say (the protocols) have worked 100 percent according to plan.”