NASCAR restores more COVID protocols to protect drivers

NASCAR has once again altered its COVID protocols to limit driver exposure, following a rise in reported cases across the US.

NASCAR restores more COVID protocols to protect drivers

In response to the increased quantity of cases, NASCAR reintroduced a policy to require all team personnel and media wear a face mask in enclosed areas of the track at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

This week, NASCAR has announced several additional changes – effective with this weekend’s races at World Wide Technology Raceway (Trucks) and Michigan International Speedway (Xfinity and Cup series).

Among the changes include the reduction of casual and planned contact points between essential team personnel, including drivers, and guests or fans.

This means that guests will not be permitted to access team haulers or garage stalls, and grid access for guests has been suspended until further notice.

Furthermore, drivers are prohibited from visiting suites around the circuit, although teams may host guests in controlled, outdoor, distanced meetings with drivers.

The driver movement routes will be planned to eliminate casual driver/fan interactions, which will also create a further barrier to stop any spread from visiting spectators.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Hyperice, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Menards / Knauf, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang HighPoint.com / Ford Performance Racing School

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Hyperice, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Menards / Knauf, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang HighPoint.com / Ford Performance Racing School

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

The driver introductions and Victory Lane will also be modified to significantly reduce the number of contacts a driver experiences through a weekend.

In addition, media covering NASCAR events will be required to wear masks when interacting with drivers and team personnel, even when outside. Media will also no longer be able to access team haulers and garage stalls.

NASCAR said the updates we being implemented on the advice of NASCAR’s consulting physicians and recently issued medical guidance.

No Cup drivers have formally tested positive for COVID this season, although Truck Series driver Chase Purdy had contracted the virus at the start of the month ahead of the Watkins Glen round, leading AJ Allmendinger to take over duties for GMS Racing - a week before his surprise Indianapolis road course victory for Kaulig Racing.

Both Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon tested positive for COVID last year; Johnson missed the Brickyard 400 as Justin Allgaier took over the seat, while Dillon was sidelined for the Daytona road course round in place of Kaz Grala.

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