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NASCAR intends to run all Cup races

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 17, 2020 at 4:38 PM

One day after NASCAR released a statement about postponing all race events through May 3, president Steve Phelps reiterated the sanctioning body is committed to running the remainder of the 36 Cup Series races and the All-Star event this season.

Asked about midweek races or doubleheader weekends, Phelps said NASCAR is looking at several rescheduling options for seven postponed races — including the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“We're looking broadly about what our options are,” Phelps said in a Tuesday teleconference. “We would like to finish the season at Phoenix and keep the playoff portion intact. With that said, it will require a lot of different opportunities for us to look at. We're in the process of doing that.

“No specifics around midweek races. I’ve heard about doubleheaders, different things, a lot of things on the table for us to look at, working with our race teams, our race tracks to make sure the things that we're putting on the table are feasible for us to do.”

Phelps added NASCAR is concentrating on getting back to racing at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on May 8-9. They are working on alternate plans if not able to come back at that time.

The president stated his wish that the postponed races would be done before the playoffs begin, meaning the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway would be run sometime prior to the playoffs and not as part of a doubleheader weekend in September with the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.

However, he added if variables change in the future, the sport will adapt to those.

He didn’t offer any specifics in NASCAR providing monetary help to the race teams with some shops closed or working with skeleton crews at the moment.

“I think what I would say there are no specifics around subsidies or anything of that nature,” Phelps said. “We are working with our teams closely to have them, industry wide, make sure we are all financially viable moving forward during this postponement of our races.”

NASCAR unveiled plans to race at Homestead-Miami and Atlanta in front of empty grandstands last week. They changed those plans to postpone a day later.

“Would we consider racing without fans at some point the to get back racing more quickly without fans? That's in the consideration set. I don't know,” Phelps said. “We're working with a number of infectious disease professionals that are going to help us through what that looks like and whether it makes sense for us to race without fans or have our first race be back with fans.

“We have a commitment to our fans, all our competitors, to the stakeholders broadly that we're going to run all the races. We are going to do everything in our power to get these races in. If there are other variables that happen that would suggest we can't do that, we'll look at those at that time.”