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Knoxville Nationals’ 60th running postponed until 2021 by COVID-19

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The 60th Knoxville Nationals, the most prestigious event in sprint car racing, has been postponed to next year, Knoxville Raceway announced in a release Tuesday.

Instead of the iconic race, the famed dirt track in Iowa will hold a three-night program Aug. 13-15 with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, ending with the Brownells Capitani Classic (previously scheduled for Aug. 9).

Because of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions, the crowd will be limited to 7,000 each night. The Knoxville Nationals typically draw a capacity crowd of 23,000, but track officials said they were unable to have a “viable event plan” approved by local government and state officials to play host to the race, which has been moved to Aug. 11-14, 2021.

“Since March, we have collaborated on several different plans with state and local officials to make the Knoxville Nationals happen,” Brian Bailey, president of the Marion County Fair Board, said. “In the end, we were just up against too many obstacles to make the event happen safely and at the level expected of the Knoxville Nationals. We’re grateful for all of the time, effort and understanding we’ve received throughout the process. Collectively, everyone is disappointed with this outcome.”

Tickets purchased for the 2020 event will be rolled over the 2021 race.

Knoxville Raceway will continue to play host to events on its 2020 schedule with a maximum capacity of 7,000.

Knoxville was the site of the World of Outlaws’ return May 8 after a two-month layoff because of the pandemic. The race was held without fans, but a limited crowd was on site when the track played host to a World of Outlaws doubleheader June 12-13 that was swept by Kyle Larson.

The postponement of the Knoxville Nationals comes on the heels of Monday’s news that the 37th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway being rescheduled to July 21.

The marquee event on the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car schedule was slated for July 15-18 but was scrubbed this year because of Ohio Department of Health orders restricting mass gatherings and spectator events at large venues remains in effect during the pandemic.

Here’s the release from Knoxville Raceway on postponing the Nationals:

The Marion County Fair Board and Knoxville Raceway have postponed the 60th running of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s until August 11-14, 2021.

In lieu of the Knoxville Nationals, Knoxville Raceway will partner with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series for three nights of racing, August 13-15, culminating with the Brownells Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank, previously scheduled on Sunday, August 9. The 2020 Brownells Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank will pay $50,000 to win and $3,000 to start. Due to COVID restrictions, only 7,000 spectators will be permitted to attend each night. Further information for this race will be announced at a later date.

“This is devastating for all of us on the fair board and at the track, as we know it is for all our fans, competitors, sponsors, employees and everyone in the racing community,” said Brian Bailey, president of the Marion County Fair Board. “A year without the Knoxville Nationals just feels surreal. This is not the outcome any of us wanted. We can promise everyone, that when the 60th running of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s happens, it will be our biggest event yet. We’ll be eager and ready to welcome all 23,000-plus fans back to Knoxville.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Knoxville Raceway officials have worked diligently with local government and Iowa state officials to craft a safe plan to host the 60th NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s. Unfortunately, as case numbers continue to rise in the country and mass gatherings continue to be discouraged, the track’s latest and most viable event plan was not approved.

“Since March, we have collaborated on several different plans with state and local officials to make the Knoxville Nationals happen,” Bailey said. “In the end, we were just up against too many obstacles to make the event happen safely and at the level expected of the Knoxville Nationals. We’re grateful for all of the time, effort and understanding we’ve received throughout the process. Collectively, everyone is disappointed with this outcome.”

Ticketing and camping information is listed below. For all inquiries concerning the postponement of the 60th NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s, please call the ticket office at 641-842-5431.

Information on Tickets and Camping:
Tickets: All tickets purchased for the 2020 NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s will be automatically rolled over to the 2021 event. If fans prefer to forfeit their 2021 tickets and receive a refund, they are encouraged to call the Knoxville Raceway ticket office at 641-842-5431. Existing 60th NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s tickets will not be valid for the 2021 event. New tickets will be issued.

Tickets for the 2020 Knoxville Nationals will not be transferable to the aforementioned three-day World of Outlaws event this August.

Previously purchased tickets for the Brownells Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank will be refunded. Information on purchasing tickets for the re-scheduled Capitani Classic on August 15 will be announced soon.

Camping: If you have a camping reservation at the race track or at the North Campgrounds during the dates of August 6 – August 15, 2020 and your plans have changed and reservation needs to be modified, please call the ticket office to request a roll over to the 2021 NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s or a refund no later than Wednesday, July 15.

2020 Season: Barring any unforeseen changes, all other events on the 2020 Knoxville Raceway schedule are on as scheduled. All events, as of now, have a maximum capacity of 7,000 spectators.

 

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.