NASCAR Leads Pack In Return For Sports

NASCAR Leads Pack In Return For Sports

By James Jackson

Since March, sports fans have been without their beloved sports to keep them entertained. NASCAR was no exception, postponing races during the COVID-19 pandemic. After starting their season on February 16th, NASCAR was only able to complete four races before they would have to start postponing events. 

HOWEVER, NASCAR would find other ways to help fans get their racing fix in over the weekend via televising iRacing events on Fox Sports. NASCAR on Fox Sports would actually draw the largest TV audience for an eSport event during their coverage of the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway race. 

After several entertaining weeks of virtual races on Fox Sports, NASCAR would make the announcement that they would return to racing in the real world at the famous Darlington Speedway in South Carolina. Curiosity struck many as they wanted to see how NASCAR handled returning to action.

Fans weren’t allowed inside the track, drivers and crew members had to have their temperature checked as they drove into the track and team personnel were limited as well. Drivers and crew members were seen wearing face masks when walking around the track and even during television interviews as well. Television reporters would wear face masks along with drivers and would stand at a distance while interviewing. A mic stand was used to get the audio from the driver during the interview.

During a normal weekend, burnouts are done at the conclusion of a race with a camera crew standing at a close distance to get the shot for the television broadcast. During this past Sunday’s broadcast, the same shot was recorded via drone. NASCAR informed crew members and drivers to not high five and hug each other during the post race celebration. When eventual race winner Kevin Harvick pulled into victory lane, he did so by himself. Harvick would take his victory lane photo alone, next to the trophy while wearing a mask. 

Viewership for NASCAR’s first race back was the second highest viewership of the season so far. The Daytona 500 in February recorded a total of 7.026 million views on the second night of the race (the original date was eventually rained out), while the first race back at Darlington recorded a total of 6.323 million views. 

People will have their opinions on how the COVID-19 pandemic should be handled. However when looking at what needs to happen to bring sports back, looking at what NASCAR has done may not be a bad idea.

PHOTOS: Chris Graythen & Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images