What to expect from your favorite racing series this summer amid global pandemic

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Phillip Thomas

If there’s one word to describe car people, it’s adaptive. Gotta build something? Chances are that there’s some unexpected hurdle; the component you want to put onto your machine just won’t fit as the directions assure it will. Hell, in racing, a good plan is just a suggestion. There’s just something about a ton-or-so of steel, aluminum, and rubber that brings out our ability to problem-solve until there’s no blood, sweat, or tears left to give.

So when the world became engulfed in pandemonium, motorsports in the age of COVID-19 became a curious exercise in adaptability for drivers, teams, sponsors, event staff, and fans. Though we certainly can’t predict the future, we’re all hoping for a return to racing this summer as conditions improve and local restrictions are eased.

Here’s a quick look at what to expect from your favorite series this summer based on the information we have right now.

NHRA

The NHRA chose to reshuffle several races with a shortened schedule tentatively set to resume on June 5 for the big show: Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock. The series will pick up where it left off in Gainesville, Florida; Pro Mod, Top Fuel Harley, Factory Stock, and Mountain Motor Pro Stock will resume on the same weekend. Divisional races are set to resume May 15 with the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. For those who crave old-school nitro action, the Hot Rod Heritage Series will also return June 5 with the Night of Fire.

Whenever races can resume, some fans may gladly remember that NHRA chose to return to the all-or-nothing points championship format, dumping the controversial Countdown to the Championships model in which the mid-season top ten racers are only eligible for the championship title after a points reset that reshuffles the line-up.

For more information, check out the NHRA’s FAQ.

NASCAR

While it’s been experimenting in eSports events and broadcasting (for better or for worse), NASCAR plans to return to the banked ovals with Martinsville Speedway on May 8, and it’s considering no-spectator races in order to reduce the risk of infection. NASCAR does intend to run a full calendar of tracks—pending local restrictions—but has not announced details at this time.

For more information, check out NASCAR’s FAQ.

IndyCar

One of the more notable changes to the schedule is the IndyCar double-header with NASCAR at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This change pushed the GMR Grand Prix to the July 4 weekend, and the open-wheel cars will run on the road course before the stock cars take to the banked oval. The iconic Indy 500 will take place August 23, and a revised schedule of the remaining races, which begin in Dallas on June 6, can be found here.

For more information, check out IndyCar’s FAQ.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

America’s Mountain will be silent during the month of June when the 14,115-foot hillclimb is typically scheduled and will instead take place, according to the current plan, on August 30.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Lord March’s celebration of acceleration is postponed until later this year, though a date has not yet been set.

24 Hours of Lemons

The nation’s premiere crapcan racing series has delayed a handful of races until later this year but had to cancel Yokohama Big Willow Weekend, Cain’t Get Bayou, and Doing Time in Joliet.

That said, those who choose to stick with the rescheduled races will get some hella sweet swag to commemorate the ordeal. And if you can’t wait to see your favorite judge in the penalty box (because it was totally the other guy’s fault, right?), 24 Hours of Lemons is hosting an iRacing series too.

For a comprehensive list, go here.

NASA

The National Auto Sport Association has paused racing, according to its most recent statement, and has not provided a projected restart date. In the meantime, however, NASA has fired up an iRacing series; you can join its inaugural sim racing league here. Please reach out to your regional director for specific information on local events.

SCCA

While SCCA was quick to launch its own iRacing series as a stop-gap measure, America’s most visible form of grassroots racing is on an indefinite hold. Primarily due to the decentralized nature of the SCCA, regions are awaiting guidance from local officials before returning to racing as restrictions are lifted.

A current list of cancelled and postponed races can be seen here.

Trans Am

Though it managed to kick off its season in early March, Trans-Am has also put its races on a series of indefinite holds, especially since the West Coast series includes several Californian tracks.

FIA

The FIA covers a wide swath of racing series, from Formula One to the World Rally Championship. Conveniently, it’s listed all affected races here. For the most part, all FIA racing is on hold for a two-month period.

NMRA/NMCA

NMRA Ford Nationals and NMCA Muscle Car Nationals hope to resume a full schedule starting May 28 with the Power Festival merging the two series after they successfully fired off their season-openers back in February.

IHRA

While the IHRA has canceled its March events, it plans to resume in May. Its Farmington Dragway and Holly Springs Motorsports events have been rescheduled later in the year at a date that’s yet to be announced.

SVRA

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association has moved three events into the fourth quarter of the year and is currently looking to resume an 11-race season starting June 17 with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Invitational.

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