After two months away from the track, the NASCAR Cup Series finally returned Sunday afternoon, a welcome sight for racing fans across the United States.
Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag at The Real Heroes 400, an event held without any fans in attendance at Darlington Raceway. Drivers will stay at the 1.366-mile oval for Wednesday night’s Toyota 500 (6 p.m. ET, FS1), which will also include only essential personnel.
There were some initial concerns about how NASCAR would be able to operate amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but teams didn’t encounter many issues at their first fan-less race outside of general awkwardness.
“On the way to the race track, I’m like, ‘Man, this could be a complete mess trying to get in the race track when I get there,'” Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers said (via Fox Sports). “I get to the race track and everything is just absolutely seamless.
“Pulling in, the way it was operated outside the race track coming in, the amount of detail that was in all that — I was kind of blown away by it.”
It’s far from an ideal scenario, but NASCAR is back. Which drivers will be ready to handle the quick turnaround?
Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Darlington?
Unlike a typical race, the Toyota 500 will not have a qualifying run.
The starting lineup will be based on the finishing order from The Real Heroes 400 with one inversion, per NASCAR:
Ryan Preece, who finished 20th on Sunday, will be on the pole for the Toyota 500 because of the inversion. Ty Dillon, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and Ryan Blaney round out the top five for Wednesday’s race.
NASCAR starting lineup at Darlington
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