RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Whether it’s iRacing or just plain old workouts, NASCAR drivers have done their best to stay sharp during their 10-week hiatus, according to Will Kunkel, the sports director at Nexstar station WJZY in Charlotte, “When I talked to Kurt Busch, he told me that he hasn’t missed two consecutive days in the gym. William Byron, obviously, has been winning in iRacing. But the biggest thing for most of these guys, honestly, is staying fit and in shape,” Kunkel said. “You can’t really be in the car, you can’t be at the track, so they want to just stay around and involved.”
NASCAR will return Sunday at Darlington Raceway without fans. Obviously, for social distancing reasons, the sport is well-suited to coming back before contact sports like football, basketball and hockey, but Kunkel thinks there are other advantages that auto racing possesses.
“I think NASCAR is in a unique position,” Kunkel said. “With the NFL, NBA, NHL, the crowd noise is a huge element of the game. And frankly, it’s a huge element of the game on the field because of penalties and home-field advantage. In NASCAR, that doesn’t really exist.”
Kunkel will co-host the ‘NASCAR is Back’ special, which airs on ABC-8 at 2 p.m. on Sunday leading up to the race.