NASCAR will once again wave the starting flag in May when the sports organization resumes its season beginning May 17 after shutting down in mid-march due to COVID-19.

NASCAR’s new seven race schedule, which will feature no fans in the stands, launches with a premiere Cup Series racing event at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina -- which along with Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the current NASCAR schedule of races. Overall The NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will be featured in a total of seven races running over an 11-day span, according to NASCAR. Fox broadcasting will televise the races.

“NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive VP and chief racing development officer in a statement. “NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community.”

NASCAR said it has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan in accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations that includes social distancing and personal protective equipment, along with health screenings for all individuals prior to entering the facility, while inside the facility and exiting the facility.

Fox Sports president of National Networks Mark Silverman said that the revised NASCAR schedule is a welcome return to live sports programming. Fox Sports in the interim has generated strong ratings numbers from several iRacing virtual NASCAR telecasts that launched in March. The Fox broadcasting/FS1 simulcast of the April 26 virtual Talladega Superspeedway race drew 1.2 million viewers. 

“While we are thrilled to return to the race track, the health and safety of our employees and all race participants is our top priority," said NASCAR. "We will continue working in lockstep with our partners at NASCAR and the race tracks to follow all national and local health guidelines.”

NASCAR joins the UFC as pro sports organizations that have announced a return to action. The MMA organization has scheduled its UFC 249 event on May 9 from Florida. 

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