NASCAR has made a few adjustments heading into Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sporting events across the globe are making adjustments due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
NASCAR heads to Altanta, Georgia this weekend. Currently, there are six confirmed cases of the virus in the state of Georgia and 16 unconfirmed cases.
Several public events are continuing as usual in the stage of Georgia. This includes the NCAA men’s Final Four basketball which is scheduled for April. Additionally, Savannah, Geogia’s St. Patrick’s Day event typically draws 500,000 people and plans for it have not been adjusted.
Update – Mar 12, 9:00am: Since this post, Savannah, Georgia has canceled their St Patrick’s Day festival and parade.
Update – Mar 12, 9:30am: The NCAA has since announced their final four event will be played without fans in the stands. Meanwhile, the NBA has postponed their entire season.
Update – March 12, 2:00pm: NASCAR has announced that upcoming races will be held without fans in attendance. Races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will be run without fans.
Related: NASCAR bans fans from upcoming races
F1 racing events later this month will be held with no fans in attendance. Currently, a handful of F1 team members are being held for testing ahead of an event.
Update – March 12, 9:00am: The McLaren F1 team has pulled themselves from this weekend’s event as a team member tested positive for coronavirus.
Update – March 12, 2:30pm: Rumors have surfaced that F1 is expected to cancel or postpone their event this weekend.
Related: McLaren F1 withdraws F1 entry
Now, NASCAR is the latest to make suggestions and new mandates to protect their community. Of note, media members will be required to stand 6 feet away from the drivers during an interview.
other notables include drivers standing in open area environments while in groups. NASCAR has also brought in an infectious disease specialist to keep NASCAR members informed.
The following 9 suggestions and limits were issued by NASCAR moments ago:
“NASCAR remains in daily consultation with public health officials and other prominent sports and entertainment properties. In addition, we have added an infectious disease specialist to our consulting physician group to provide technical assistance and to inform policy.”
NASCAR’s note to media members
–Driver Crew Chief meeting. This meeting will be held in open air locations across all series and attendance will be restricted to drivers, crew chiefs, team owners and select officials and dignitaries.
NASCAR Communications will alert you of any updates or driver questions resulting from that meeting, and the driver / crew chief meeting video will be available to view on NASCAR.com.
–Driver at track media availabilities. The informal rotations for all three series will be changed to press conferences on the riser in the media center.
Full field driver availabilities during qualifying, infield care center driver availability and post-race bullpen will remain in effect, but with a 6-foot buffer in place. The weekend media availability schedule is attached.
Additional suggestions from NASCAR in relation to coronavirus
–Track Services meeting. This meeting will be held in open air locations across all series.
–Team haulers. NASCAR recommends that access to team haulers be restricted to necessary personnel at team’s discretion.
–Driver appearances. Should be structured to ensure that drivers are visible to fans in an open-air setting, such as Q&A sessions.
–Driver autographs. Drivers should pre-sign items whenever possible, carry their own Sharpie and hero cards should be the primary form for all autographs.
–Pre-race and post-race activities (driver introductions, grid & victory lane). We will provide a 6-foot buffer around the grid and driver introduction stage.
–Advance in-market driver appearances. All advance appearances will be replaced with remote media activities and/or rescheduled for a later date in coordination with racetracks.
–At track evaluation process. All individuals coming to the infield care center demonstrating symptoms potentially consistent with coronavirus will be appropriately handled by medical professionals. All facilities have been provided a standard operating process following CDC guidelines.
“The health, safety and well-being of our industry, employees, media, fans and everyone associated with our events remains our top priority. We will remain diligent as we actively monitor this situation with medical experts and health officials. We will keep everyone informed as to any additional prospective operational or scheduling changes.”