NASCAR Wields Responsibility As First Major U.S. Sport Set To Return
NASCAR's decision to be the first sport back "puts considerable pressure" on the circuit to "get this right," according to Steve Hummer of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Suddenly, the greatest danger is "not the flaming, driver-strapped-into-a-170-mph-cement-mixer crash, but rather one spiky virus." Let one driver, family or crew member fall ill following the first Darlington race -- regardless where he or she may have contracted it -- and "every other sport pondering a restart will break out its own caution flag." Being the first sport back "gives racing a stage all to itself, and a brief opportunity to capitalize on the lack of competition for eyeballs." Hummer wonders, "Will a sports-starved country turn its lonely gaze to a left-turn festival at Darlington, and, then, can racing put on a show that might turn the desperate and the curious into return customers?" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/4).
WATCH & LEARN: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Rex Hoggard noted the PGA Tour, which is "currently set to resume its schedule on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge, is sure to pay particular interest" when drivers start their engines on May 17. Similar to NASCAR, the Tour "has been touted as an example of a sport with built-in social distancing." NASCAR's plan -- which was "developed with help from public health officials and medical experts -- doesn't include testing drivers or staff." The tour has "wisely followed" the NBA's cautious approach "based largely on the concept of widespread testing and aggressive plans to assure and encourage social distancing." The alternative "would be devastating." NASCAR's return is a "huge responsibility for all sports" (GOLFCHANNEL.com. 5/3).