NASCAR announced Wednesday that it was making changes to the way it handles meetings, interviews and other race weekend procedures as a precaution amidst the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This weekend’s upcoming Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Cup Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway are currently set to run as scheduled.
The sanctioning body said that all pre-race driver meetings would now be held in open-air facilities with only specific personnel allowed to attend. Many driver meetings are held in garage bays and those with VIP and infield passes are typically able to observe in person.
NASCAR also said that all driver appearances with fans would also occur in open-air locations. Drivers are asked to carry their own markers for fan autographs and “hero cards should be the primary form for all autographs.”
A six-foot buffer between the public and race personnel is also being added at all pre- and post-race activities such as driver meetings and victory lane festivities. All driver interviews through media availabilities will also be conducted with a six-foot buffer zone.
NASCAR said it “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.” All of NASCAR’s changes are being made indefinitely.
The IndyCar Series season opener is Sunday in St. Petersburg. Like NASCAR, the series is proceeding with the race with fans in attendance and event organizers said they had added additional hand washing and hand sanitizing stations for those going to the event.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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