NASCAR has announced it will suspend its next two races, at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Miami-Homestead Speedway, out of concern regarding the coronavirus pandemic:
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 was expected to take place Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
The organization had initially announced the races would continue as planned but without spectators in the stands, limiting attendance to competitors, crews, officials and other essential personnel.
The postponement follows the trend of other American sports suspending or postponing their regular seasons, including the NBA, NHL and MLB.
It comes as a result of the global pandemic, which has already killed almost 5,000 people worldwide, per CNN.com. In the United States, there have been 1,696 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 41 deaths as of Friday, per CNN.com.
NASCAR averaged more than 67,000 fans per event in 2018, per of the Ron KantowskiLas Vegas Review-Journal, creating significant risk to spread the disease.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson provided a statement on Friday’s news:
The next scheduled event for the 2020 season is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on March 29.