NASCAR announced Monday that races through at
least May 3 will have to be rescheduled.
"The health and safety of our fans, industry and the communities
in which we race is our most important priority, so in
accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently
postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return
racing in Martinsville," the NASCAR statement read in part. "We
appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to
returning to the racetrack."
Phelps said Tuesday that the plan is to ultimately complete the
"For us, we have a commitment to our fans that we're going to
run all the races," Phelps said. "We have a commitment to all
our competitors that we run all the races. We have a commitment
to the stakeholders broadly, that we're going to run all the
"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."
Phelps said NASCAR must consider all its scheduling options --
from midweek races, to doubleheader weekends to perhaps even
racing during what would have been a two-week pause already
written into the schedule for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
"At this particular point, we would like to finish the season at
Phoenix and keep the playoffs portion (of the schedule) intact,"
Phelps said. "With that said, it will require a lot of different
opportunities for us to look at. We're in the process of doing
"No specifics about midweek races. I've heard about
doubleheaders, different things. At this particular point a lot
of things on the table for us to look at, working with our race
teams, working with our race tracks to make sure the things that
we're putting on the table are feasible for us to do."
Phelps said the sanctioning body must be, and is willing, to
adapt as needed.
"It's understanding the races that we've had to postpone and
what is the best way to get them to fit back into the schedule,"
Phelps said. "We'll take a holistic view of what it is, not
specifically, how are we going to prioritize one versus
The question of whether NASCAR would consider holding events
without fans also arose and Phelps said it is "in the
consideration set." But, he emphasized that the whole situation
is evolving so quickly, even holding the races without
spectators was questionable because of the continued risk to the
drivers, teams and officials that are still working in relative
close quarters in the garage.
On the subject of testing the Next Gen car for its scheduled
2021 debut, Phelps again cautioned that it's a fluid situation
and at this point, still "too early to tell" the feasibility of
Another major part of any schedule adjustment involves the
sport's media partners, something Phelps said the series and its
two network partners, FOX and NBC, are well aware of and eager
to work out. Logistics will obviously be an important factor.
"At some point soon, we hope to all get back to finding that
escape that our fans are all looking for, in our case, getting
back to racing," Phelps said. "We are working with FOX and with
NBC to understand what windows might be available. That will
come as we develop this schedule. It is complex, for sure. But
both partners have shown great willingness to try to work with
us...to find windows to get back to racing in our case."
Phelps allowed that there have been discussions even about
broadcasting alternatives such as eNASCAR and iRacing.
"There are discussions we've having with FOX about what things
we can do, discussions with NBC, things that we can put through
our own channels that satisfy fans," Phelps said. "Our fans are
obviously thirsty for this content. We want to provide it to
them smartly and have interesting content as opposed to just
repurposing some of the content that's already been done.
"More to come on that. We want to make sure we're servicing the
fans as best we can."
--By Holly Cain. Special to Field Level Media
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