Austin Dillon tested positive for COVID-19, Richard Childress Racing announced Saturday morning, and will miss Sunday’s (Aug. 16) NASCAR Cup Series race at the Daytona International Speedway road course.
Dillon, who won at Texas Motor Speedway on July 19 to lock himself into the playoffs, is self-quarantining away from the team, the team said in a statement. The team also noted that Dillon’s wife, Whitney, and the couple’s newborn son, Ace, “remain healthy and symptom-free.”
Dillon, a three-time Cup winner, will be replaced by Kaz Grala in the No. 3 Chevrolet, RCR said in a statement. Grala, 21, has 29 Xfinity Series starts and 32 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts, most recently finishing fourth on Aug. 8 in the Xfinity Series event at Road America in RCR’s No. 21 car. Sunday marks Grala’s Cup Series debut.
I wish @AustinDillon3 a speedy recovery while I keep his seat warm this weekend in the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet. I hope to make everyone @RCRracing proud during these unfortunate circumstances. pic.twitter.com/a9QNKDBege
— Kaz Grala (@KazGrala) August 15, 2020
“Based upon recommendations outlined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NASCAR and our health partners at Wake-Forest Baptist Health, RCR has enacted procedures and safety protocols designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread,” the team said in a statement. “These guidelines were developed in close consultation with a panel of medical experts with broad experience in infectious diseases, many of whom have been on the front line in treating COVID-19 patients across the country.
“We will continue to adhere to these guidelines in order to protect the health and safety of our employees and their families, and our business partners.”
Dillon becomes the second full-time Cup Series driver to test positive for COVID-19 this season. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson was the first competitor diagnosed on July 3, forcing the soon-retiring Johnson to miss the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
About the author
Pocono Raceway is his home track and he's been attending races there since 2002. A fan since he was three years old, Zach is living out a dream covering racing, including past coverage of ARCA and IndyCar.
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In all likelihood, if NASCAR had the same mandatory testing requirements that legitimate sports do, there would be far more positive tests. Typical of NASCAR to be the one with its collective head in the sand.
Only JJ and Dillon (who has an infant at home) were brave enough to be tested and honest enough to reveal the results. Maybe all the Playoff drivers should undergo mandatory testing before the first Playoff race. Let’s see how that screws up the rest of the season.
I just figured that every one at the track underwent Covoid-19 testing. Thanks for that info.