CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR has decided it will not grant COVID-19 aid throughout the playoffs, this means a constructive coronavirus examination will stop a driver’s championship bid.

The playoffs start off Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with no a protection net for the 16 individuals throughout the pandemic. It’s up to each individual driver to shield on their own from COVID-19, knowing there is no cushion for missing a race.

“I’m likely not likely to go to college or university and strike up a keg stand,” Clint Bowyer reported. “If you have COVID, you just cannot race. It is not a judgment simply call.”

NASCAR at its discretion grants waivers throughout its common period for illness, emergency or own factors. The waiver maintains playoff eligibility, if the driver qualifies, but no factors are awarded even though sidelined.

Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon both equally missed one particular race throughout the period subsequent a constructive COVID-19 examination and gained zero factors. Dillon gained a race — worthy of an automatic berth in the playoffs — but the seven-time winner Johnson went winless and missed the slice by six factors.

NASCAR built no modifications for the 10-race playoff sequence, so missing a race would would effectively stop a driver’s championship prospects.

“If a driver checks constructive, that driver needs to have two negative checks in a 24-hour period of time, or a 10-working day period of time. We are not likely to improve all those regulations,” reported NASCAR President Steve Phelps.

As one particular of the initially important sporting activities to resume competitiveness throughout the pandemic, NASCAR put in spot suggestions built to restrict both equally publicity to the virus and its distribute. Infield access has been shut to all but crucial staff and situations have been held with both equally restricted spectators and empty grandstands.

NASCAR does not examination for the coronavirus and is trusting its individuals.

“If you glance at the accomplishment that we have experienced to day, the protocols are operating pretty very well,” Phelps reported. “Is anything best and foolproof? It is not. But for us, we have been pleased with how it’s long gone so far.”

Kevin Harvick gained the common-period title and is the top rated seed in the playoffs with seven victories. The pandemic has previously led to radical modifications in his lifestyle that have been bolstered now that the postseason is below. .

He stored his 8-12 months-previous son residence from university this semester and the Harvick family has eliminated all social situations. They really don’t even go to the grocery keep, he reported.

“I travel by myself. I drive in the rental auto by myself. I go to the motorhome by myself. I get again in the rental auto and I go residence,” Harvick reported. “It’s touched pretty a great deal every single portion of our lifetime, attempting to create an environment to be as protected as attainable.”

NASCAR until 2004 crowned its winner on a period-extended factors technique that penalized drivers for missing races. It forced opponents to drive wounded — Ricky Rudd the moment infamously taped his eyelids open to drive and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hid concussions — and the waiver technique was eventually carried out.

The waiver aided reigning Cup Series winner Kyle Busch in his initially title campaign when he missed 11 races throughout the 2015 common period with a broken leg and broken ankle. He gained four situations to race his way into the playoffs and then claimed the title.

A serious harm would naturally just take a driver out of competition. But the coronavirus is not as obvious slice and drivers could theoretically not be analyzed to shield their period. Johnson was not struggling signs and symptoms but was analyzed immediately after his wife obtained a constructive examination Dillon was encountering moderate signs and symptoms. Both have been cleared to return in under a 7 days.

“I’ve talked to both equally of them that experienced it and (they’ve) likely experienced even worse hangovers,” Bowyer reported.

Joey Logano dismissed the strategy of intentionally not becoming analyzed out of fear of missing a race.

“Our protection needs to be the utmost concern, not just for ourselves, but in a selfless way we have to have to be clever about tests,” Logano reported. “We also have to have to be clever about who we see and how we do matters. As the entire world is beginning to open up slowly and gradually, I believe for these 10 weeks I likely continue to have to have to be clever about it due to the fact my period is on the line.”