On Friday, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing announced that its two upcoming events, races at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 14-15) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 20-22) would be postponed until further notice.
“NASCAR has decided to postpone the race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend & Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend. We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety & well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport,” said the sport’s governing body in a statement.
At one time, the organization had been considering taking a page out of Italian soccer league Serie A’s book and holding the events without spectators. However, though the races could go on without spectators, holding them would still bring drivers, crews, tech people, groundskeepers, their families, and other people into a small area — something that health officials are warning against doing as coronavirus spreads around the world.
Yahoo Sports writer Nick Bromberg suggests that NASCAR could have handled its cancellation of the Atlanta race better, noting that, rather than come out with a clear and unambiguous statement, the agency allowed rumors and speculation to go on for a day or two. Additionally, Bromberg notes that many people had already traveled to Atlanta for the race, possibly exposing themselves to coronavirus.
IndyCar, another major professional motorsport governing body, also announced on Friday that its events are postponed until further notice.
The league’s season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, was to roll on Sunday, but is now postponed until further notice. The Long Beach Grand Prix had already been canceled, upcoming races at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, and Circuit of the Americas in Austin are now also canceled.
“After careful consideration… we have made the decision to cancel all NTT Indycar Series events through April,” the body said in a statement.
NASCAR’s and IndyCar’s decisions to postpone their seasons come amid similar decisions by Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and indeed, just about every major professional and college sports governing body that would otherwise have competitions going on right now.
Two notable exceptions, as reported by The Inquisitr, are the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The PGA is planning to hold its upcoming tournament without spectators present, while UFC will effectively be carrying out business as usual, continuing to hold matches with spectators present.