NASCAR Confirms Cup, Xfinity and Trucks Return in May at Darlington and Charlotte

NASCAR confirmed on Thursday its return to racing on May 17 with a slate of races that includes seven events across all three national touring divisions at two tracks—Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

A version of this schedule emailed to teams, which also included an ARCA Racing Series event at Charlotte, was first obtained and published by Autoweek on Wednesday morning. It isn’t clear if that event was on a previous draft of a schedule and did not make the final cut.

The NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV Truck Series will each host its first on-track event since mid-March when the United States declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Cup Series will return to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17, with a 400-mile event scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, live on Fox, Fox Deportes, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Afterward is a schedule that includes midweek races in primetime and the Coca-Cola 600 on its traditional Memorial Day weekend date for the 60th consecutive season.

The opening slate of races and broadcast times is as follows:

Sunday, May 17 | Darlington | Cup 400 mi | Fox 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 19 | Darlington | Xfinity 200 mi | FS1 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 20 | Darlington | Cup 500 km | FS1 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 24 | Charlotte | Cup 600 mi | Fox 6 p.m.
Monday, May 25 | Charlotte | Xfinity 300 mi | FS1 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 26 | Charlotte | Trucks 200 mi | FS1 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 27 | Charlotte | Cup 500 km | FS1 8:00 p.m.

Each race will be contested without fans in attendance. Additional schedule adjustments will be announced in the future.

Each race is a one-day show and will not include practice sessions or qualifying. The exception is the Coca-Cola 600, which will include a qualifying session.

“NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community. We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.”

NASCAR has been in collaboration with local government and health officials throughout the pandemic. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper approved NASCAR racing in North Carolina on Tuesday, following a proposal from the sanctioning body that included safety measures.

With the approval, government officials also recommended additional steps. NASCAR’s plan includes the following:

—One-day shows
—Mandated use of personal protective equipment throughout the event
—Health screenings for all individuals prior to entering the facility, while inside the facility and exiting the facility
—Social distancing protocols throughout the event
—Strict limits on the number of individuals who are granted access into each facility

The email distributed to teams this week included guideline messaging similar to what became official today.

“We are all very eager to see cars and trucks back on the track, but we also must recognize the substantial responsibility that comes with returning to competition. NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors and those in the local community.

“Following a thorough collaboration with with public health officials, medical experts and state and federal officials, NASCAR has implemented a comprehensive plan to ensure the health and safety of our competitors and the surrounding communities.

“While we will only be announcing the return of NASCAR through the end of May, it continues to be our intention to reschedule all points races for all national series events. We hope to announce details on future events very soon.”

Autoweek on Tuesday obtained a copy of a provisional Cup Series schedule disseminated to teams that runs through June.

– Sunday, May 17 | Darlington 400
– Wednesday, May 20 | Darlington 310
– Sunday, May 24 | Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
– Wednesday, May 27 | Charlotte 310
– Sunday, May 31 | Martinsville
– Wednesday, June 3 | Bristol
– Sunday, June 7 | Atlanta
– Sunday, June 14 | Miami

Additional details about race formats and roster limitations will be made clearer following a 4 p.m. Thursday NASCAR media teleconference.

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