DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — The grandstands were completely empty. There wasn’t a single tailgate inside the track.
Everyone wore face coverings — some with the team logos, others opting for plain disposable medical masks.
It was nothing close to the corporate sponsorship, pomp and patriotic traveling circus that symbolizes NASCAR.
But when the engines fired at Darlington Raceway following a 10-week layoff during the coronavirus pandemic, it turned into a regular old race.
Kevin Harvick beat Alex Bowman to win NASCAR’s first race back, a spectacle closely watched to see if the largest racing series in the U.S. could successfully get back to work.