We are on the precipice of what is one of the most anticipated stretches of NASCAR in recent history, with the Coronavirus Pandemic putting a stop on all sports until further notice, NASCAR has laid out the groundwork for a safe return to competition on May 17th at Darlington Raceway, with no fans of course but road crew members and drivers have all agreed in returning to competition while abiding by CDC Guidelines. President Steve Phelps plans to hold a 36 race schedule no matter what it takes, however it is known 3 venues may lose out on a date because of enforced state lockdowns from COVID 19, which is a great segue for THE FIVE. Five storylines heading into the resumption of the 2020 Cup Series season.

The Schedule

Make no mistake about it, the 2020 Cup Series schedule has been blown up, date shuffling to safer venues, and opened up states will hold priority. However right now it looks like venues within driving distance will be a safe bet for now, and weeknight races! Weeknight shows are something that the fans have longed for, so this will be an experiment in my opinion for the 2021 schedule. We got notification earlier today that Sonoma, Chicago, and Richmond will be the races losing a spot this year.

NASCAR will hold races at Darlington Raceway on May 17th and 20th for the Cup Series. The fans will then on May 24th have the traditional running of the Coca Cola 600. However, we will then see a 500k event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After that, there is a lot of unknowns that hopefully will be cleared up next week. Remember there will be no fans allowed at any of these events which means completely empty stands. However, NASCAR is allowing free use of their race scanner service for May and June for NASCAR Mobile, so it’s a good time to try this app out! These races aside from the 600 will be one day shows only, no practice, or qualification, just rack ’em up and go racing!

Kyle Larson’s Future

There have been many questions surrounding the disgraced driver. Kyle Larson was fired from Chip Ganassi Racing for using a racial slur during an iRacing event. He has successfully completed his language sensitivity courses but still is suspended indefinitely by NASCAR. He will be returning to action in a Sprint Car race in Iowa this weekend. However, his NASCAR future remains unclear despite widespread speculation about ending up at Stewart Haas Racing in the future, nothing is clear whether if or when he will return to NASCAR, 2003 Champion Matt Kenseth will drive in his place and is eligible to compete for the Championship.

Ryan Newman, The Miracle Worker.

After a near-fatal accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500, Ryan Newman has been cleared to return to competition at Darlington, despite only missing 3 races! This is remarkable considering how frightening the wreck was leaving fans, media, fellow drivers, and teams fearing the worst. It will be a sight to see Newman back in competition. I think he has learned quite a bit during the time off.

Will the #19 Team Turn the Corner?

the five

After one Top 5 to start the season and a slew of DNF’s. Some people are even wondering what has happened to perennial title contender Martin Truex Jr., with 1st-year crew chief James Small. You even have some fans wondering if Small is the right guy for the job. Or maybe if MTJ had lost the mojo that he had with longtime crew chief Cole Pearn. This layoff has to be a blessing for this team, as they can go back to the drawing board. That will allow them to start over with the gameplan for races going forward.

Darlington 2020 Or Daytona 1979.

NASCAR returns to competition on May 17th. They will be one of the ONLY sports in competition aside from the Korean Baseball Organization. That means this could be one of the important races since the 1979 Daytona 500. Especially since people are starving for live sports on television and radio. We might finally see a huge boost in ratings and strengthening of the fan base. It will be important for NASCAR to hit the ground running!

The First Five Finale

So, there it is race fans. These are the five topics you need to keep an eye on heading into next week. However, don’t forget even though it is virtual NASCAR is headed back to the famed North Wilkesboro Speedway this Sunday for the end of the Pro Invitational Series. This should be an interesting sight to see for some of the younger fans who never got to see a competitive race at the fan-favorite track. Make sure you all tune in and watch the show.

Hey, and if you really want to continue keeping up with an awesome iRacing series make sure you check out the ERSCA Series, that we here at Belly Up Sports cover. We’ve got some big names involved in our upcoming Belly Up Sports Vegas jam so it should be interesting!

Also, for all of your up coming NASCAR news give myself a follow on Twitter and follow the Belly Up Racing page for your consistent racing content.

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