DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced Wednesday afternoon that several changes will be made to race-weekend operations in the wake of the worldwide novel coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to remaining in daily consultation with public health officials and prominent sports and entertainment properties, an infectious disease specialist has been added to the NASCAR consulting physician group to provide technical assistance and inform policy.
Among the changes suggested by medical counsel are the following:
– The driver/crew chief 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.
– 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 the post-race bullpen will remain in effect, but with a six-foot buffer in place.
– The track services meeting will be held in open air locations across all series.
– 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.
– 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, including driver introductions, grid and victory lane ceremonies, will be conducted with a six-foot buffer around the grid and driver introduction stage.
– All advance in-market driver appearances will be replaced with remote media activities and/or rescheduled for a later date in coordination with race tracks.
– 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,” NASCAR communications officials said in a statement. “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.”