April 30 (UPI) -- NASCAR announced Thursday that it will return to action May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina without fans in attendance.
The 400-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington will be the first of seven events in 11 days involving all three NASCAR national series. Three of those events, which includes two Cup Series races and an Xfinity Series event, will take place at Darlington, NASCAR's oldest superspeedway.
The race at the historic South Carolina track will be NASCAR's first event in more than two months. NASCAR suspended its season in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said in a statement. "NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community.
"We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track."
The other four events -- two Cup Series races, an Xfinity Series event and a Gander Trucks race -- will be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. None of the May events will take place in front of fans.
The revised schedule also includes a pair of Wednesday races, fulfilling fans' longtime demands for midweek events.
NASCAR joins the UFC, which is scheduled to return May 9, as the first major sports organizations to announce specific plans to return since the COVID-19 outbreak shut down sports across the globe in March.