The 2020 NASCAR season has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak while drivers have flocked to the virtual Pro Invitational Series. However, the Cup Series could soon be returning, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He revealed on Monday afternoon that he has been in contact with NASCAR officials to discuss a race at Texas Motor Speedway without fans.
"Just spoke to @NASCAR leaders. They're working to return to Texas at Texas Motor Speedway very soon. I hope to announce the exciting details in the near future. To prevent spread of #COVID19 it will be without fans. But they will put on a great show for TV," Abbott tweeted. This news comes on the heels of NASCAR announcing that it intended to hold all 36 remaining races.
"Texas Governor Greg Abbott has given NASCAR the green flag to race, and our sport is eager to get back on track. Texas Motor Speedway will work aggressively with the sanctioning bodies and TV networks to give American society, as well as people around the world, a positive distraction during this crisis," Eddie Gossage, TMS president and general manager, said in a statement on Monday afternoon." He continued to explain why NASCAR is uniquely qualified to return amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our sport is unique because the competitors are inside the race cars with no body-to-body contact like most other sports. That is a distinct advantage over other sports and why you will likely see auto racing as the first live sport returning to action. We appreciate the Governor's support for the return of racing at Texas Motor Speedway very soon."
Speedway Motorsports, the company that owns and operates Texas Motor Speedway and seven other tracks was recently forced to do some restructuring due to the ongoing pandemic. The company laid off 180 employees and furloughed another 100. This accounted for roughly one-third of the employees, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.0comments
The 2020 Cup Series has not been active since Joey Logano won the FanShield 500 on March 8. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 in Atlanta was postponed following the NBA postponing its season on March 11. NASCAR only initially planned to postpone two races but later added another five to the list. The organization postponed its eighth race on Fridday, pushing back the event at Martinsville.
NASCAR's return in the coming weeks is not guaranteed, but Abbott is optimistic about an event taking place at Texas Motor Speedway. If this takes place, racing would be the second sport to return in 2020, following the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The drivers and fans will be excited, but Matt DiBenedetto will have to ditch his giraffe onesie for a firesuit.