NASCAR officially postpones Martinsville race; no new date set

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 27: General view during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

In a time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when NASCAR will start racing again is now up in the air.

NASCAR issued a statement Friday that said it has now postponed the race at Martinsville Virginia and added that it still hopes to return to racing later in May, potentially without fans in attendance.

“NASCAR is postponing the scheduled events on May 8-9 at Martinsville Speedway. Our intention remains to run all 36 races, with a potential return to racing without fans in attendance in May at a date and location to be determined. The health and safety of our competitors, employees, fans, and the communities in which we run continues to be our top priority. We will continue to consult with health experts and local, state and federal officials as we assess future scheduling options.”

NASCAR had kicked off its season at Daytona in February and ran three races after that.  However, as states began to shut down the sport was forced to postpone all racing on the Friday before the fifth race of the season at Atlanta.

The sanctioning body had set the return date for Martinsville however the state of Virginia recently extended its stay at home order to May 8 leaving the Martinsville race in question.

The track said in a statement they will try to have the race later in the year.

“Martinsville Speedway will continue to work closely with NASCAR officials on a rescheduled race date, while maintaining contact with local and federal health officials for the latest information on the ongoing (COVID-19) coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to thank all of our dedicated fans who were set to join us during our May race weekend and our first NASCAR Cup Series race under the lights,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “The well-being and safety of our patrons, NASCAR stakeholders, employees and our community continues to be our number one priority. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these challenging times and we look forward to having everyone back in the near future to help us make history once again at Martinsville Speedway.”

With its stated commitment to run all 36 previously scheduled races, NASCAR will now need to add another race to the make-up schedule. The next scheduled race on the calendar in May is the All-Star Race in Charlotte NC on May 16.  With the All-Star race being a non-point’s paying race, it has been wildly speculated that that race could be cancelled to make up a postponed points-paying event.

Greg Engle