NASCAR encouraged crew members to follow safety protocol regarding virus; Days later, we had a fight on the pit lane at Kentucky Speedway
We haven’t seen many fines following NASCAR fights in the past. That might not be the case this time with detailed safety protocols in place regarding the virus.
As sports re-fire, it takes discipline to keep them going. NASCAR is racing amid a pandemic.
The virus has contacted 3,238,219 people in the United States causing 135,953 deaths. 2,138,854 of those cases remain active.
In recent weeks, we’ve been seeing an increase in cases, significantly. In four straight days, new cases have gone up in numbers of 50,000 or more across the US.
When NASCAR returned in May, it came with a full list of new safety measures. Health screenings were installed at checkpoints throughout racetracks.
One way walkways and masks are just two additional measures. NASCAR has also asked their teams to divide the road crews from the shop crews and limit contact between them.
Drivers drive themselves to the track. They then quarantine themselves, in their haulers for the duration of race weekends.
This week, NASCAR issued a memo to teams encouraging them to follow the guidelines.
NASCAR memo to teams
“There are pockets of complacency that left unchecked will threaten our ability to continue racing,” the memo read.
“We’re seeing more and more vanloads of crew members rolling up to the track without masks on, and people wearing their mask down around their chin.”
“Only two of five crew members answered honestly (on their pre-entry questionnaire) about their prolonged exposure to a colleague who tested positive.”
“With infection rates significantly increasing in many places we work and race (including Florida, North Carolina and Texas), exposure to community spread is increased. More people in our industry are going to contract the virus. The key is limiting it.”
“Maintaining the integrity of the footprint in the garage area with only essential personnel being allowed is imperative.”
“It is important for everyone to do their part ALL THE TIME. One cluster outbreak can derail our season. Please ensure this is communicated proper;y throughout your organizations.”
Fight on pit road at Kentucky
Fines for violating COVID guidelines can range up to $50,000 in the NASCAR Cup Series. The NASCAR Xfinity Series can see fines from $5,000 to $25,000.
In recent years, drivers haven’t been penalized for fighting. Though, we have seen crew members be penalized.
On Friday night, NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton tangled with the wall. After the race, Burton approached Gragson to discuss it.
Burton had his mask on as he entered the chat. Gragson had yet to put on his mask.
Burton gave Gragson a shove and it was on. Gragson returned with a punch to the face. Both drivers went to the ground.
Crews came into the scene as well. We didn’t see a pile of them on top of the drivers, like we’ve seen in the past with Joey Logano and Kyle Busch or Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin.
But, we did see a crowd of aggravated people pushing a shoving. All of the above is in direct violation of the COVID guidelines.
We haven’t seen fines for fighting in NASCAR. But, we probably will this time.
Correction: COVID numbers data has been corrected to US numbers. It originally stated world numbers.