NASCAR President Steve Phelps Hopes To Run 36-Race Cup Series Schedule

By Holly Cain

NASCAR Wire Service

NASCAR President Steve Phelps held a teleconference with the sport’s media Tuesday addressing questions and reassuring that the hope is, yes, the full season’s 36 points races will be run, with the safety of the sport’s fans and its participants of utmost importance during the current worldwide COVID-19 virus outbreak.

NASCAR announced Monday that races through at least May 3 will have to be rescheduled.

“The health and safety of our fans, industry and the communities in which we race is our most important priority, so in accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return racing in Martinsville,’’ the NASCAR statement read in part. “We appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to returning to the racetrack.’’

Phelps said Tuesday that the plan is to ultimately complete the schedule.

“For us, we have a commitment to our fans that we’re going to run all the races,’’ Phelps said. “We have a commitment to all our competitors that we run all the races. We have a commitment to the stakeholders broadly, that we’re going to run all the races.

“We are going to do everything in our power to get these races in. If there are other variables that happen that would suggest we can’t do that, we’ll look at those at that time.’’

Phelps said NASCAR must consider all its scheduling options – from midweek races, to doubleheader weekends to perhaps even racing during what would have been a two-week pause already written into the schedule for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“At this particular point, we would like to finish the season at Phoenix and keep the Playoffs portion [of the schedule] intact,’’ Phelps said. “With that said, it will require a lot of different opportunities for us to look at. We’re in the process of doing that.

“No specifics about midweek races. I’ve heard about doubleheaders, different things. At this particular point a lot of things on the table for us to look at, working with our race teams, working with our race tracks to make sure the things that we’re putting on the table are feasible for us to do.’’

Phelps said the sanctioning body must be and is willing to adapt as needed.

“It’s understanding the races that we’ve had to postpone and what is the best way to get them to fit back into the schedule,’’ Phelps said.  “We’ll take a holistic view of what it is, not specifically, how are we going to prioritize one versus another.’’

The question of whether NASCAR would consider holding events without fans also arose and Phelps said it is “in the consideration set.’’ But, he emphasized that the whole situation is evolving so quickly, even holding the races without spectators was questionable because of the continued risk to the drivers, teams and officials that are still working in relative close-quarters in the garage.

On the subject of testing the Next Gen car for its scheduled 2021 debut, Phelps again cautioned that it’s a fluid situation and at this point, still “too early to tell” the feasibility of that.

Another major part of any schedule adjustment involves the sport’s media partners, something Phelps said the series and its two networks FOX and NBC are well aware of and eager to work out. Logistics will obviously be an important factor.

“At some point soon, we hope to all get back to finding that escape that our fans are all looking for, in our case, getting back to racing,’’ Phelps said. “We are working with FOX and with NBC to understand what windows might be available. That will come as we develop this schedule. It is complex, for sure. But both partners have shown great willingness to try to work with us…to find windows to get back to racing in our case.’’

Phelps allowed that there have been discussions even about broadcasting alternatives such as eNASCAR and iRacing.

“There are discussions we’ve having with FOX about what things we can do, discussions with NBC, things that we can put through our own channels that satisfy fans,’’ Phelps said. “Our fans are obviously thirsty for this content. We want to provide it to them smartly and have interesting content as opposed to just repurposing some of the content that’s already been done.

“More to come on that. We want to make sure we’re servicing the fans as best we can.’’

Comments

  1. If they run every Sunday starting May 3rd, the last race will be in January 2021.

  2. As the virus issue was causing the stock market to tank I was watching the traders talking about support levels. Places where the market will stop dropping based on their arcane graphs and historical data points. As the market blasted through each of their support levels I just wondered what the point was seeing as how this deal isn’t like anything else that has happening in the past.
    Whether it’s Stafford, Thompson or the Cup series scheduling races is probably the same thing. You just do it hoping some support level will kick in at some point.
    To all the Bernie Sanders supporters you must be laughing your asses off now. Wall Street said your election would be the end of Capitalism and cause the market to crash. Now the market has crashed and Capitalism is lined up outside of Washington with hat in hand looking for hand outs from the thing they said shouldn’t interfere in their business. Meanwhile the administration talks of sending free money to people like in “two or three weeks” they neither know how to execute nor how they’ll pay for.
    You hearing this Bernie?

  3. What is with NASCAR? Brian France has alcoholism issues, and this Phelps dude has other far more serious issues. Public gatherings will be shut down for the next several weeks, if not months, and he thinks he can cram 36 races in that shortened calendar. NASCAR clearly does not attract and hire the best, brightest, and baggage-free people.

  4. Bernie is all done now.

  5. So much time to ponder and wonder:
    -does your nose start to run and you feel congestion building in you chest every time you watch the news or see statistics on the outbreak?
    -As covid 19 kills more older people will the heirs to the estate consider the deceased supply of toilet paper to be one of the estates most valuable assets to fight over?
    -As the virus infects more people and more recover will having the covid-19 and the associated antibodies become a priority on resumes that employers consider important?
    -If you’re in a social situation and you see someone you’re attracted to, strike up a conversation, has the feeling out process changed? Something like so are you single, what do you do for a living, any kids and oh by the way have you had covid-19? If you haven’t is that a deal breaker?
    -Will the date Medicare runs out of money decrease because old people are using it more to fight the virus or will the date be pushed further out as more old sick people die.
    -Will the world population of pets suffer a mortality rate greater then humans because people believe their pets can transmit the virus.
    -Mike Huckebee says down South they would be somewhat immune to toilet paper shortages using corn cobs when shortages arise on the farm. I don’t know about you but aside from the disturbing image that is now in my head I do worry that there now could be a new threat. Clogged septic, sewage and drain pipes resulting from people taking the Reverend seriously.
    -Is God a member of the Gen x, Millennial or Gen Z generation? Baby boomers have all the money and power but not enough to buy them protection from covid-19.
    -If you eat covid19 will it make you sick, build up your immunity or label you as not that bright for considering the notion in the first place.
    -So you’re son, daughter or grand child has had and recovered from the virus. With immunity they commence to visit you more then ever before, ostensibly to check on your welfare. Does the fact they seem more affectionate then normal while showing no interest in sanitizing first and lingering by the 1957 Chevy Belair sitting in the garage put any doubt in you mind?
    -Do comparisons to the 1918 flu pandemic make you feel better? Killing 20 to 50 million people world wide and hitting the younger and more vital people harder. As opposed to this one that spares children and younger adults from the severest symptoms while killing we geezers off at higher rates? No? Didn’t think so.
    -the cable company, water, sewer, stock broker, banks, cell phone provider, auto insurance company, electric company have all send me emails assuring me they are going to provide tip top service no matter what through the crises. Humph, no word from my Medicare Supplement provider. Oh well must be an oversight. I’m sure they have everything under control.
    -OK so you have a job that is secure, you and your family are positioned well to survive the virus with little impact and eventually there will be a season to run with your car in the garage ready to go. If Congress is going to follow through sprinkling checks all over the country would it be wrong to use the money for a tire fund?

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