Which NASCAR Drivers Contracted COVID-19 and Who Else was Affected?

Published 12/29/2020, 10:45 PM EST
Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson prior to the final race of his career at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


NASCAR took a massive gamble this season to resume the season amid the global pandemic. Admittedly, the sport was not completely unscathed from the COVID-19 virus. A few team personnel and a couple of drivers fell victim to it, though they have since recovered.

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Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson were notable victims of the COVID-19 virus, both on separate occasions. Johnson was forced to miss the race at Indianapolis, while Dillon skipped Daytona.

However, this was not just limited to drivers, even a few teams have suffered from it. Around June, a couple of Stewart-Haas Racing employees tested positive. In addition to that, Team Penske confirmed that one of their own also tested positive for COVID-19.

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The COVID-19 virus had far bigger effects on NASCAR

Aside from the health aspect, the pandemic also had a devastating effect from a financial standpoint. NASCAR President Steve Phelps announced a staff pay cut across the board while the series halted midway. This would last until racing resumed a month later, due to the sports-wide coronavirus break.

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FORT WORTH, TX – APRIL 11: Austin Dillon, driver of the #51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet, sits in his car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gen-6 Testing at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)

According to a memo, series executives would see their salaries drop by 25%, including that of track presidents. Meanwhile, the rest of the community would experience a 20% pay cut. Furthermore, there were frozen budget expenses, and employees were given a one week vacation over the next five weeks.

However, the Leavine Family Racing team was one of the worst-hit. It got so dire that the team shut shop after the 2020 season. According to founder Bob Leavine, “Difficult, and we’re losing our family. Having to sell and not wanting to, is probably the most difficult thing. I look at it as I failed.”

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It is a bit heart-breaking as the outfit has been around for nearly a decade. Leavine even admitted that he wants to see costs reducing to ensure that smaller teams can survive.

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Dhruv George

11747 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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