NASCAR pulled off something no other sport has pulled off

Joey Logano, Team Penske, and Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, Team Penske, and Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

NASCAR was the first major sport to get back into running events amid the pandemic, but another first happened this past weekend.

In fact, this has been a challenging year for sports as a whole, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. None of us knew what was in NASCAR’s future across the three national series when the sport was unexpectedly shut down back in March. Would the season continue? Would there be a reduction in the number of races?

NASCAR President Steve Phelps spoke with the media after the season was suspended and stated that “we intend to race all our 36 points races as well as the All‑Star event.”

And all 36 races were run. With an unexpected 10-week hiatus having been thrown into the mix, NASCAR had to change dates and tracks and run midweek races and doubleheaders with no practice or qualifying, except for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. They were challenged, but their goal was accomplished.

This past weekend, NASCAR became the first major sport to finish a full season without seeing the number of events reduced.

More from NASCAR

And it wasn’t just the Cup Series; it was the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series.

The Cup Series started with 36 races on the scheduled and ended with 36. The Xfinity Series schedule began with 33 and ended with 23, and the Truck Series began with 23 and ended with 23. Now compare that to other motorsports. IndyCar, which was set for 17 races in 16 weekends, ended up running 14 races over nine weekends. Formula 1 was scheduled to run a record 22 races, but they are currently 13 races into a new 17-race schedule.

If we look into other sports, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) each finished their restricted seasons in isolation zones.

The NBA usually plays an 82-game season, but most of the teams finished the regular season with 70 to 75 games played once in the bubble. The NHL also usually plays an 82-game season, but they immediately transitioned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in their hubs. Before the suspension, teams had played between 69 and 71 games.

Major League Baseball (MLB) had their 2020 campaign set for 162 games beginning in March, but the pandemic changed those plans. Their updated 60-game season was a traveling circus. Even many fans thought it was going to get canceled early with multiple COVID-19 outbreaks, but they got through it.

But NASCAR did it the best. They were the first to return to play with a restricted traveling bubble and numerous CDC guidelines in place, and they were the first to put a limited number of fans back in the stands with minimal positive tests. They were also the first to complete a full season, and they did it for all three national series.

Next. NASCAR Playoffs: Pros and Cons. dark

As 2020 comes to a close, we can finally relax and get ready for 2021. In the future, we all hope for packed stands without social distancing or face coverings and that life can return to normal. Congratulations to Chase Elliott on his first Cup Series championship, Austin Cindric on his first Xfinity Series championship and Sheldon Creed on his first Truck Series championship, and best wishes to Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer as they leave their full-time driver roles.