By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Kaz Grala will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday. He will fill in for Cup Series veteran Austin Dillon, who is unable to make the race.
The Lewisville, North Carolina had to withdraw after testing positive for the coronavirus. As a result, Dillon will miss the road course at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Dillon is the latest NASCAR driver to test positive for the infectious virus. Jimmie Johnson allegedly had the virus but that’s being disputed with a false positive.
Brendan Gaughan, a former NASCAR Cup Series regular, also tested positive for the coronavirus. Truck Series driver Spencer Davis missed last weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway due to the virus.
“This morning Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series driver Austin Dillon tested positive for COVID-19,” read a team statement. “In accordance with NASCAR’s safety protocol, Dillon is self-quarantining away from RCR’s facilities and will not be competing in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. Austin’s wife and son Ace remain healthy and symptom-free. Kaz Grala will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet for RCR this weekend.
“RCR takes the safety of our employees, fellow competitors, fans, partners and outside vendors seriously. 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 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 is not able to compete in a race again until he has two negative tests within 24 hours. He is in his seven full-time season.
He has three career wins in 251 Cup Series starts, including one this season. His 238-race start streak will end with Grala taking his spot in Daytona.
Despite missing the race, Dillon will still make the playoffs no matter how many races he has to miss due to this virus.
Besides the three wins, Dillon also has 13 Top 5 finishes and 46 Top 10 finishes in his career. This will be Grala’s first career Cup Series start.