NASCAR tells teams not to get complacent with at-track coronavirus protocols

·2 min read

NASCAR wants teams to reinforce how serious its coronavirus precautions are at racetracks.

The sanctioning body sent teams a memo this week telling their employees to remember to follow all of its rules. NASCAR mandated masks and face coverings for everyone working at the track and has tried to separate crew members as much as possible. It’s also screening people when they enter the track for coronavirus symptoms and each person traveling to the track has to fill out a form. NASCAR is not, however, providing regular coronavirus testing.

The memo was first reported earlier in the week by WCNC and obtained in full by the Associated Press.

“There are pockets of complacency that left unchecked will threaten our ability to continue racing. We’re seeing more and more van loads of crew members rolling up to the track without masks on, and people wearing their mask down around their chin. Only two of five pit crew members answered honestly (on their pre-race questionnaire) about their prolonged exposure to a colleague who tested positive.

“With infection rates significantly increasing in many places we work and races (including Florida, North Carolina and Texas), exposure to community spread is increased. More people in our industry are going to contract the virus. The key is limiting it.

“Maintaining the integrity of the footprint in the garage area with only essential personnel being allowed is imperative.

“It is important for everyone to do their part ALL THE TIME. One cluster outbreak can derail our season. Please ensure this is communicated properly throughout your organizations.”

NASCAR returned to racing on May 17 with races that were within an easy drive of teams’ shops in Charlotte. It’s expanded its footprint from there and is racing in Kentucky this weekend after racing at Pocono and Indianapolis over the previous two weekends. Multiple pictures from Indianapolis showed people at either Lucas Oil Raceway or Indianapolis Motor Speedway either wearing masks improperly or not at all.

Multiple teams have announced that crew members have tested positive for the coronavirus and Jimmie Johnson became the first NASCAR driver to miss a race because of COVID-19 when he missed the race at Indianapolis.

SPARTA, KENTUCKY - JULY 09: Jeb Burton, driver of the #8 Rocky Boots Chevrolet, and Ross Chastain, driver of the #10 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet, talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky Speedway on July 09, 2020 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
NASCAR drivers have to wear masks when they aren't in their cars. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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