There is no question that this week has been huge for NASCAR, as the world waits to see if the pandemic postpones or cancels the entire season. While many teams and sponsors are keeping up with their regular routines as the world turns to virtual racing, others are taking a slightly different approach as they try to use the time off to their advantage. One of these teams includes the No. 88 Chevy driven by Tyler Reddick, which comes to us from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Since this is a fairly specialized series (think: trucks that look like they could navigate the London Underground with ease), many of you might be wondering what exactly the purpose of this particular excursion is. The answer: preparation for the big leagues!
Yes, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back in action this weekend, as the teams and drivers gear up for the 103rd running of the historic Grand National. While some fans might be looking forward to getting back out on the tracks, those in the know are eager to see what the 2020 season has in store, as the track layout for the Cup series has changed a great deal since last year.
New Pocono For 2020
One of the biggest changes is at the “Magic Mile,” as the name given to the very road that the races are held on. Last year, Pocono Raceway was out of commission for nearly a decade, so it was a treat for NASCAR fans to get a chance to see one of the most historic races at this track. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a stop to any sort of in-person attendance, as the teams and drivers took the track for a virtual spin, which many considered to be one of the better versions considering the circumstances. This year, the teams will once again be taking to the tracks, but they will do so under different circumstances. For one, there will be no fans in attendance. For another, it will be night racing, so the track will be bathed in darkness, except for the cars’ headlight beams, which will create an eerie atmosphere. Still, with all these changes, it is anyone’s guess as to how the races will play out.
More Apres-Race Entertainment
While the fans won’t be there to watch the races, they will be able to follow them through the television, as the Sports Channel will be broadcasting the action live. Those who want to make sure they don’t miss a single moment can also download the Sports Channel app to their phones, as the races will be streamable there as well. After the race, fans can stay a while and hang out with the drivers in their respective team’s hospitality tent. The hospitality tents at NASCAR races have become such a big part of the experience for fans, as the drivers and teams work hard to make sure everyone feels welcome and given what they want. It is also an excellent place for fans to get autographs from their favorite drivers.
Different Weather For Weather Games
One of the other big changes this year is the weather. The pandemic postponed the entire season, so it’s back to pre-pandemic conditions, at least at the beginning. The good news for fans is that the temps are way cooler and the rain happens way less. The bad news is that it is already June and most of the warm-weather racing has already passed. Still, this is perfect for those who want to participate in some sort of race-related activity.
This week, the NASCAR Weather Games will be held at Darlington Raceway, which is only a few hours away from where I live. The Darlington Raceway groundskeepers have turned the normally lush greens of South Carolina into an epic golf course, which is hosting one of the great American sporting events. I couldn’t be more pumped to go to my first NASCAR race as a spectator, even if it is a virtual one. I wonder what my phone will do, as I’m sure it will be buzzing with alerts from NASCAR apps and websites, as well as calls from journalists trying to get an interview. This is going to be quite the week. Maybe even an opportunity to talk to some of the drivers? Regardless, I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience for me, as well as many other fans who have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time.
The only way to find out what all the commotion is about is by going to the track this week, so make sure you put this on your calendar now: the 103rd running of the GRAND NATIONAL starts at 7:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 24 and can be found on the Internet at racetracktovirtual.com. If you’re looking for a place to watch the race, check out the YouTube channel NASCAR At All Costs, as the Sports Channel will have live coverage that can be streamed online.