CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR has determined it will not grant COVID-19 relief through the playoffs, this means a beneficial coronavirus check will end a driver’s championship bid.
The playoffs start off Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina devoid of a protection web for the sixteen participants through the pandemic. It can be up to each individual driver to safeguard by themselves from COVID-19, understanding there is no cushion for lacking a race.
“I’m likely not going to go to faculty and hit up a keg stand,” Clint Bowyer mentioned. “If you have COVID, you can not race. It is not a judgment connect with.”
NASCAR at its discretion grants waivers through its standard year for ailment, emergency or private causes. The waiver maintains playoff eligibility, if the driver qualifies, but no points are awarded whilst sidelined.
Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon both equally missed one race through the year next a beneficial COVID-19 check and earned zero points. Dillon received a race — worth an computerized berth in the playoffs — but the 7-time champion Johnson went winless and missed the minimize by six points.
NASCAR built no variations for the ten-race playoff collection, so lacking a race would would effectively end a driver’s championship prospects.
“If a driver checks beneficial, that driver demands to have two destructive checks in a 24-hour period of time, or a ten-working day period of time. We are not going to adjust those people regulations,” mentioned NASCAR President Steve Phelps.
As one of the first significant athletics to resume competitors through the pandemic, NASCAR place in location pointers created to limit both equally exposure to the virus and its spread. Infield access has been shut to all but essential staff and situations have been held with both equally restricted spectators and empty grandstands.
NASCAR does not check for the coronavirus and is trusting its participants.
“If you look at the good results that we have had to day, the protocols are working extremely very well,” Phelps mentioned. “Is all the things perfect and foolproof? It is not. But for us, we have been delighted with how it is gone so considerably.”
Kevin Harvick received the standard-year title and is the prime seed in the playoffs with 7 victories. The pandemic has by now led to radical variations in his life style that have been bolstered now that the postseason is below. .
He kept his eight-year-old son home from school this semester and the Harvick loved ones has removed all social situations. They really don’t even go to the grocery keep, he mentioned.
“I journey by myself. I generate in the rental motor vehicle by myself. I go to the motorhome by myself. I get back again in the rental motor vehicle and I go home,” Harvick mentioned. “It’s touched very considerably every single part of our life, striving to generate an surroundings to be as safe as feasible.”
NASCAR right until 2004 topped its champion on a year-very long points process that penalized drivers for lacking races. It compelled competitors to generate injured — Ricky Rudd at the time infamously taped his eyelids open to generate and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hid concussions — and the waiver process was in the end implemented.
The waiver assisted reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Busch in his first title campaign when he missed eleven races through the 2015 standard year with a broken leg and broken ankle. He received 4 situations to race his way into the playoffs and then claimed the title.
A severe harm would clearly consider a driver out of competition. But the coronavirus is not as crystal clear minimize and drivers could theoretically not be analyzed to safeguard their year. Johnson was not struggling indicators but was analyzed immediately after his wife been given a beneficial check Dillon was enduring moderate indicators. Each have been cleared to return in below a 7 days.
“I’ve talked to both equally of them that had it and (they have) likely had even worse hangovers,” Bowyer mentioned.
Joey Logano dismissed the idea of deliberately not currently being analyzed out of panic of lacking a race.
“Our protection demands to be the utmost worry, not just for ourselves, but in a selfless way we need to be sensible about screening,” Logano mentioned. “We also need to be sensible about who we see and how we do issues. As the globe is beginning to open up slowly, I consider for these ten weeks I likely still need to be sensible about it due to the fact my year is on the line.”