Three sprint car drivers test positive for COVID-19 after Knoxville Outlaws

Superstar Racing Experience schedule
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Three drivers each announced a positive test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after racing in the World of Outlaws Series event at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa last week.

Daryn Pittman, who made the feature race in all three nights of The One And Only event (finishing 10th Saturday in the main event won by Kyle Larson), announced he “recently tested positive” for COVID-19 in a Twitter post Wednesday night.

Pittman, who said he was feeling better after a fever and body aches, said other members of his team also tested positive for COVID-19. He advised those who were in contact with him at Knoxville to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Paul McMahan, who competes regularly in the All Star Circuit of Champions, posted Thursday afternoon that he and his wife, Jan, had tested positive Tuesday after his wife returned from Knoxville feeling ill and with a high fever. McMahan said he is asymptomatic but has been self-isolating with Jan.

UPDATE: A third sprint car driver, Tori Knutson, posted Thursday night that she also had tested positive for COVID-19 after racing at Knoxville and would be sidelining her team for two weeks.

Kraig Kinser Racing, which also raced at Knoxville, tweeted late Thursday afternoon it was sitting out this weekend after members of its team tested positive.

Knoxville Raceway released a statement Thursday that a member of its staff also tested positive for COVID-19 after the race weekend. The track said it was aware of “several positive COVID-19 results this week” within the sprint car racing community and was working with Marion County health officials.

A World of Outlaws spokesperson told NBC Sports that the series advised its Platinum drivers (who are running for seasonlong points) to get COVID-19 tests earlier this week and also has conducted contact tracing from Knoxville.

The World of Outlaws also will be closing the pit area to fans until further notice and limit access through temperature checks and health questionnaires.

In a statement later Thursday night, the Outlaws also outlined how Platinum drivers such as Pittman would receive points while missing races.

Pittman and McMahan both said they wouldn’t be racing this weekend. The NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series is scheduled for a doubleheader weekend in North Dakota on Friday at River Cities Speedway and Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway. The ASCOC is racing in Wisconsin and Indiana.

“The One and Only” essentially replaced the 60th annual Knoxville Nationals, which was postponed to next year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series has raced several times this season at the half-mile dirt track known as the Sprint Car Capital of the World, returning May 8 at Knoxville for its first race during the pandemic without fans.

The track has been playing host to sprint car races with limited crowds since June.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III