NASCAR to Use Dogs for Highly Unique COVID-19 Detection Method at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Published 03/17/2021, 1:00 PM EDT
Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) leads the way at the start of the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


It is now extremely obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be going away for a long time. As a result, everyone has to adapt to the presence of the virus, including NASCAR. Unfortunately, the stock car series has often come under fire for not testing participants.

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However, the sport is planning to switch things up in terms of testing participants. At the coming race weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR won’t implement the nasal swab. Instead, the sport is opting for a more canine approach – using sniffer dogs.

Recently, NASCAR teamed up with the 360 K9 Group, which provides specialized detection dogs that are trained to detect COVID-19. So, these dogs will be needed to screen drivers, crew members, and vendors as they enter the premises.

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How has NASCAR made this possible?

Speaking about the move, NASCAR said, “These dogs have shown to be as effective as PCR test in identifying an infected person, and are being used by professional sports teams, hospitals and many other businesses to screen employees and guests.”

According to a NASCAR spokesperson, they will trial the system at Atlanta. From their observations, they will decide on the next steps about using the canine system again. However, there are chances that it could result in changes to other protocols, like media or sponsor guests.

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Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; A general view of drivers during the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The way the system works is that if a dog detects a positive COVID case, there will be a second screening. The NASCAR’s safety team will conduct this secondary screening, which includes a rapid PCR test. From there, the physician will have to take a call on whether the concerned driver or crew member can participate or not.

The NASCAR paddock is expected to make landfall at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hopefully the pandemic should not cause too much trouble, like it did last year on many occasions. This is why the stock car racing series is trying to take health and safety extremely seriously. Last year, there were a number of people in the NASCAR community who contracted the virus. People like Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon and various crew members.

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Dhruv George

11411 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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