This entire season has felt odd, but compared to a few other sports that have started back up in recent weeks, NASCAR actually seems to have experienced more success. Let’s face it, basketball is good, but they are confined to certain areas. Hockey has returned, which even I feel is a bit more normal, but to have a full-on run to the Stanley Cup among all the teams certainly is rather odd.
And then there’s baseball…yes, America’s Pastime is officially back, and already hitting a staggering wall.
We all knew that the pandemic was not going away like when David Copperfield vanished the airplane, rail car, or for that matter the Statue of Liberty. It was sticking around, and now a 60-game season for teams suddenly has to be shuffled around because of positive cases. Add in the odd look of having cardboard fans in the stands, and it just looks rather odd.
Now with some seasons on the brink of collapse due to exposure, and deep cleaning of ballparks, dugouts and lockers, finding something that is sports related that doesn’t seem to have any chaos behind it seems far fetched.
So with NASCAR on the docket, and actually having a rather normal weekend at New Hampshire, everything seemed to be falling in place. Plus, aside from the moments when a Penske employee, and Jimmie Johnson, were announced to have positive tests, we have not seen any such grand-scale outbreak among the sport. Even when the All-Star Race had the biggest crowd of any event since the sport returned to the track, around 30,000 fans no less, not one positive case was linked to any fans at the track.
This weekend’s event at New Hampshire saw the biggest crowd for a points-paying race since the return to action in May, and yet the lengths the sanctioning body, the track, and the fans took to ensure their own safety was second to none.
They ultimately got a great race that got dominated by the black and yellow deuce, a critical win for the team, and now one that secured Brad Keselowski his spot in the No. 2 for years to come.
NASCAR, compared to all the other sports that are back in action or have begun preparations in hopes for their season to start, has actually been able to give the country a bit of normalcy when it comes to life in general. Sure, it may not always be with a crowd in the stands, but at the same time that is outside of NASCAR’s control. Each track, just like each state, is different when it comes to regulations, and yet we’ve heard nothing about an outbreak related to any race, nor fans attending such races.
Maybe NASCAR is the light at the end of the title after all when it comes to sports during the pandemic.
For now, we must park it as next weekend, an unexpected double just as Pocono had one month ago, at the fastest oval on the circuit. Michigan…we’re coming for you.