Brad Keselowski asks, “Should we go racing?”
In March, NASCAR joined a very long list of sporting organizations to sit out as the coronavirus outbreak took shape. Now, eight NASCAR races are postponed.
Last week, NASCAR added Martinsville Speedway to the list. The series was scheduled to restart the season their on May 9th but due to the statewide stay at home order, it was also postponed.
Now, other states are essentially begging for the first NASCAR race. Florida and Texas have asked NASCAR to set a date for their return. Rumors suggest the sport wants to debut their return at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late may but North Carolina government is currently unsure of that plan.
As of noon on Wednesday, the United States leads the world in COVID-19 cases at 831,283 with near 30,000 added on Tuesday alone. They also lead the word in deaths at 46,013 with 3,007 added Tuesday.
Brad Keselowki helping with Coronavirus outbreak
The NASCAR community has stepped up to help the shortage of personal protective gear. The sanction itself began producing equipment via their R&D Center last month.
Years ago, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski closed down his NASCAR Truck Series team. He then took the shop and it’s employees and started a manufacturing company, KAM.
KAM is currently working to 3D print 500 face shields with a first batch already sent to the Lewisville Fire Department. And they took it one step further to design metal molds for other companies to jump in on making face shields.
So, what is the NASCAR driver himself up to during the postponement?
“I’m full-in on family time and my business at KAM,” Brad Keselowski told the Charlotte Observer of his time in quarantine.
“That’s a work-in-progress on all fronts with having a new daughter and all that stuff. It’s a blessing as well. I’m trying to think of the obstacle as a way, so to speak, and take advantage of the opportunities that this provides us.”
“It’s easy to get caught up on the bad things, but I’d rather focus on the good opportunities that come from this.”
Lock downs ending: Green flag?
The lock down of America is likely to be over soon, at least for the sporting world. NASCAR is eagerly talking with officials about a return.
President Trump met with the sports leaders, several times. His plan is to make sports a crucial part of Opening America Again to send a quick burst to the economy.
There are a few hurdles in this scenario. As mentioned, the state of Virginia isn’t an option for racing, until the lock down lifts on June 10th.
North Carolina is home to most NASCAR teams. They are currently on lock down until April 29th. But, that may be extended.
The North Carolina lock down has all of NASCAR stuck at home and away from the race shops. The shops are closed, some team have laid off employees. And if that lock down is extended, it could force the sport to add more postponements, unless there’s a sporting exception, like the state of Florida put into place.
A few of the less impacted states like Alabama have already lifted their stay at home orders. Many more are likely to be added at the end of April, pending possible extensions.
Last week, NASCAR suggested they would be restarting the show in May. It’s just a matter of where they’ll be allowed to go?
The races will certainly be held without fans. 200-mph action will be shown via TV only viewership. And after a long break without sports, it’s likely to break some records as NASCAR will be the first major sport back at it.
But, should they?
It’s an interesting question. NASCAR teams tend to fly in bulk on team jets, at least in terms of the larger organizations. Others come on public aircraft. If the race is close enough, some may elect to drive.
It only takes one case to cause community spread. That could very well happen, first on a jet, then throughout the NASCAR garage.
Back in late March, five Ottawa Senators players tested positive for COVID-19. This came after the NHL team landed from a long road trip.
Brad Keselowski on NASCAR returning amid pandemic
“I’m terribly conflicted. I think it’s important that we do things to get back going as fast as we can, but then on the same token, I really don’t want to see anyone get sick that shouldn’t get sick when it’s preventable, so I’m really torn,” Keselowski said.
“I really sympathize for those who have to make these decisions because there’s really not a good option. We can’t keep sitting around doing nothing, because we’re draining vital resources and quite frankly, we can’t afford it.”
MBM Motorsports laid off all there employees several weeks ago. They have also been loaning out money to employees to help their team fight through the postponements.
“But on the flip side, we also have a responsibility to each other to not expose one another to harmful contagions and that’s part of our responsibility as a community. Those two things seem to be at odds. I know that’s not really a clear answer, but I don’t know if there is a clear answer.”
Rumors have been circulating that NASCAR tends to test all the NASCAR members prior to a race.
“That part doesn’t particularly concern me. What concerns me is not the, ‘Can we do it?’ It’s the, ‘Should we do it?’ I think clearly we can.”