NASCAR's return to action is a ray of sunshine in a dark time Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 20 May 2020 05:27 Written by
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The return to racing at Darlington was music to the ears of fans, who hadn’t seen racing since March. Kevin Harvick dominated the day in his #4 car. The return to racing at Darlington was music to the ears of fans, who hadn’t seen racing since March. Kevin Harvick dominated the day in his #4 car. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

I felt a little more upbeat than usual when I woke up this past Sunday.

And the same feeling will return on Wednesday.

Why, you ask?

Well, If the weather cooperates, I’ll be anticipating the chance to enjoy NASCAR’s second Cup race held in the past four days, an amazing accomplishment considering the state of the world right now. The flurry of racing on track in Charlotte next week will be the icing on the cake as NASCAR’s early return to action is celebrated.

Since March, our lives have been turned upside down and COVID has everyone on edge. We’ve lost over 90,000 Americans so far to this horrible virus, and at least 36 million Americans have at least temporarily applied for unemployment due to its impact.

Scary times for by anyone’s standards, as this is nothing any of us ever thought we would live through. But that’s exactly what we are doing: Living through this, hopefully by being smart and taking the necessary precautions to protect ourselves — just as NASCAR is doing for its competitors.

The return of NASCAR (even in this strange form with altered pit stops and no fans in the stands) is something that folks like me who have loved this sport our whole lives see as a sign that we’re approaching a return to normal.

No, things are not actually “normal”; They’re still very odd, in fact, and changes like wearing masks and gloves, and social distancing, will be here for a long time, no doubt impacting race attendance well into the summer and fall of 2020. But racing, through an impressive effort by NASCAR to lead the way, is back. Only a few tracks had to sacrifice a race, a couple tracks benefitted with extra races added, and we’ll get to see a full season of competition, just on a slightly different schedule.

I’m really looking forward to all the mid-week races, which I honestly hope is something the powers that be keep in mind for the 2021 schedule and beyond. It’s a great opportunity for NASCAR to go outside the box, even if they only do a couple each year.

Sure, Kevin Harvick dominated the race Sunday at Darlington and took away some of the drama, but it was still a blast to watch — especially the tight battles between Harvick and Bowman up front on the restarts (I’m very impressed by Bowman so far this season; he’s arguably the best of the Hendrick bunch in 2020).

Despite Harvick’s dominance, I have zero complaints about Sunday’s race, as I was just happy I could watch the sport I love. NASCAR really did pull off a miracle to get this done so quickly, and I applaud their efforts wholeheartedly.

As a quick side note: If you’re a fan and you’re complaining about this new (temporary) setup for racing, I advise you to look around the world, see the real-life devastation faced by so many people, and sit back and enjoy the race. And if you don’t like it, turn it off. It’s that simple, and the real fans really won’t miss you.

Due to the lack of other sports being in action right now, the sport has a real chance to gain some new fans. The first race back saw 6.32 million viewers, not too shabby and the most-watched non-Daytona 500 race since 2017. I’m hopeful some of these fans will stick around all year.

To sum it up, I have some very simple but true words:

Welcome back, NASCAR. We really missed you.

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Matt Myftiu can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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