NASCAR teams report positive COVID-19 tests

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR’s Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske teams have confirmed at least one of their employees has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement released Friday, SHR said the team experienced two positive test results, neither of which involved personnel who travel to races.

“Robust protocols have been in place and continue to be followed diligently to mitigate the spread of the virus while maintaining the health and safety of all members of the organization and greater community,” Steward-Haas Racing said in a statement.

On Saturday, Team Penske said in a statement that one team member tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The cases reported by the teams mark the first positive coronavirus tests announced in NASCAR since the season was postponed due to the coronavirus in March.

“This employee has been in quarantine all week and has recovered without any further symptoms,” Team Penske said in a statement. “Due to the team’s stringent protocols, only a few of our personnel had reason to quarantine and none of those individuals are experiencing any symptoms. The identities of those impacted, along with additional details, will not be released due to privacy concerns.”

All individuals who travel to races are required to undergo a temperature forehead scan, but COVID-19 tests are not required or administered prior to admission.

“Everything’s been going remarkably smooth in terms of the protocols that have been set in place,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said on Monday. “We’ve certainly had some folks who may have presented some symptoms that we’ve turned away early.”

O’Donnell said it was up to individuals and teams to disclose positive cases and said that event protocols have “worked 100% according to plan.”

NASCAR has not announced, nor confirmed, any positive cases of the novel coronavirus.

“We’ve not had challenges during an event where anything’s come up where we’ve had to react during the hours the garage was open,” O’Donnell said. “It’s been if there were any issues, it’s prior to someone entering the facility, which have been very minimal. All-in-all it’s been very good.”

He added that he expects there will be challenges that arise as the sport reopens to fans, beginning with 5,000 fans allowed at the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Fans are expected to wear masks, social distance and undergo a temperature forehead scan upon entry.

NASCAR also announced Monday that the All-Star race would move from Charlotte to Bristol with 30,000 fans in attendance.

“It does get hard,” O’Donnell said. “And it does seem to be that with each week, the longer you wear a mask, you hope it becomes more normalized, but it’s challenging.”

O’Donnell said that teams are continuing to wear masks at events despite the heat and that he hopes fans will follow the same practice.

Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske are based in the Charlotte area, which is seeing a rise of positive COVID-19 cases. In North Carolina, there are currently more than 51,000 lab-confirmed cased in the state, according to the Department of Heath and Human Services.


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