With NHRA officials announcing they are working with all stake holders including state and local officials, host tracks and team to come up with a plan for a revised 2020 schedule in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The date: August. With fans. And will consist of 18 total events, that include the two that kicked off the season.
For the events scheduled in June and July, in which NHRA felt confident they could run during the pandemic situation, they too have been postponed. Plus, the Las Vegas, Atlanta and Virginia races. That leaves only the events previously scheduled in August through November, plus the Gainesville and Charlotte races slotted in. The season picks up starting with the Northwest Nationals July 31-August 2 in Seattle, WA and concludes with the NHRA Finals in Pomona, November 12-15.
Now this is still contingent on state and local officials, including public health departments, giving them the green light. If any of these locations became hot-spots then that could change matters quickly too.
A number of questions remain unanswered. Will NHRA officials, track personal and race teams knowing they all have to work in close proximity have to follow strict guidelines, will there be more distance between race units in the pits, and how about the six-foot rule for social distancing for fans in the stand? I am sure NHRA will take all the necessary precautions to protect its fans, officials and teams.
The one attribute and marketing asset that the NHRA has over other motorsports, is the availability of its races teams and their ability to engage with the fans. Will this now be removed to protect both sides or will measures be instituted to keep a certain level of engagement, but at the same time maintain safety.
Then consider this, there are the several thousands of Canadian racers and fans who venture south to support the NHRA. Where does this leave them knowing the borders are currently shut down, travel insurance and will they have to self-quarantine upon arrival. They also have to return, will the 14-day self-quarantine rule apply again. So many questions and unknowns right now.
So, for those of us who enjoy the sport of NHRA drag racing will we get to attend an event in 2020, will the teams get to compete for a Wally and will the camaraderie between fans, teams and officials get back to some sense of normalcy.
Lots of questions still, however I am sure the NHRA is working diligently on plans meet the satisfaction of both state and local authorities in order to give the 2020 NHRA Mello Yellow season a reboot. Stay tuned…