Austin Dillon tests positive for COVID-19

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 

Austin Dillon has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and will miss the Daytona road course on Sunday, August 16th. Richard Childress Racing announced that Kaz Grala would replace Dillon in the No. 3 Chevrolet.

The organization stated that the 2018 Daytona 500 winner is self-quarantining and that his wife Whitney and two-month old son Ace remain healthy and symptom-free.

“RCR takes the safety of our employees, fellow competitors, fans, partners and outside vendors seriously,” the team said in a statement. “Based upon recommendations outlined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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. 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 must receive two negative COVID-19 test results at least 24 hours apart and written clearance from his personal physician before he is eligible to return to competition. If he is unable to produce two negative tests within a 10-day period from his first positive test, a NASCAR consulting physician may review his return status.

NASCAR will grant Dillon a medical waiver to remain eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs once the team requests it. Dillon originally qualified for the post-season playoffs with his win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dillon becomes the third to miss a race because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and the fourth driver to test positive for the virus. Jimmie Johnson missed the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July after a positive test, while Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Spencer Davis missed one race earlier this month because of a positive test result.

Brendan Gaughan tested positive in July, but due to a limited schedule the driver did not miss any events. He returns this weekend at the 3.61-mile track.

Grala will be making his series debut on Sunday. The 21-year-old will drop to the rear of the field because of the driver change. In his two Xfinity starts this season, Grala has matched his career-best finish with a fourth-place result at Road America.

Grala has one NASCAR win to his credit, the 2017 Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The victory allowed Grala to become the youngest winner at the 2.5-mile speedway at 18 years, 1 month and 26 days old.

Austin Dillon tests positive for COVID-19 Austin Dillon tests positive for COVID-19 Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Saturday, August 15, 2020 Rating: 5