Motor racing-NASCAR not considering making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
NASCAR: GEICO 500
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

(Reuters) - NASCAR will continue to encourage its drivers to get COVID-19 vaccinations through those who have already had their shots but making it mandatory would be a "slippery slope", its president Steve Phelps said.

Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR, recently addressed the hesitancy of some of his fellow drivers to get vaccinated after receiving his doses and Phelps said it was important for the company, the sport and the country.

"As relates to the driver corps, you'll probably see more. We'll ask the drivers to try to help promote the vaccination process. They have a voice," Phelps told reporters ahead of Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway.

"That voice carries a lot of weight, to the degree that we can help with folks who are uncertain about whether they want to get the vaccine, it would be critical to have those with the loudest voice within the sport talking about vaccinations."

United States President Joe Biden is enlisting the help of groups as varied as NASCAR and the NAACP as part of a multi-billion dollar effort to convince Americans to take vaccines.

U.S. media reported that IndyCar requires its drivers and crew to be vaccinated or return negative tests daily during the Indy 500 week. Phelps said making vaccinations compulsory would be "a bit of a slippery slope."

"... We'll continue to monitor and change our policy as necessary to make sure people are safe," he added. "The number of people who are in this garage that have been vaccinated continues to steadily rise."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)