Auto racing notebook: Dillon sidelined by positive COVID-19 test

Auto racing notebook: Dillon sidelined by positive COVID-19 test

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR driver Austin Dillon tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway’s road course.

Richard Childress Racing said Dillon tested positive Saturday morning. He experienced mild symptoms and sought a test on his own. He is now self-quarantining from the team. His wife and newborn son remain healthy and symptom-free, the team added.

Kaz Grala will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet on Sunday.

Dillon is the third Cup Series drive to test positive for the coronavirus, joining seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and part-timer Brendan Gaughan. Johnson missed just one race.

Dillon has already qualified for the playoffs by winning at Texas last month.

According to NASCAR’s latest COVID-19 protocols, Dillon may return to racing activities after he receives two negative test results taken at least 24 hours apart. He also may return 10 days after his first positive test if he is fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication.

INDYCAR: Marco Andretti led a Honda rout on the first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifying – a session dominated by Andretti Autosport and Honda as Team Penske was shut out of pole contention.

Andretti posted a four-lap average of 231.351 mph to top the speed chart ahead of teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe. The fastest nine advance to a Sunday shootout that determines the first three rows for the Indy 500.

The Andretti organization grabbed four of the slots and Honda drivers took eight of nine.

“Honda brought it this year,” Andretti said. “I was able to just go out and do my job and, man, when it all comes together, it is just beautiful.”

Hunter-Reay was second, Rossi third and Hinchcliffe fourth in the Andretti sweep.

“To be one-through-four is pretty unheard of,” Rossi acknowledged.

Andretti Autosport tried to get all six of its cars into the top nine, but Colton Herta was 10th and Zach Veach 17th after multiple attempts.

It’s not clear that the Andretti group has the fastest car – Scott Dixon logged the fastest lap of the day at 232.356 mph in an aborted qualifying run at the buzzer. Dixon said he wasn’t trying to bump the Andretti quartet off the top when he made the late run for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“We were just checking a few things for tomorrow; we wanted to get the right balance,” Dixon said.

It was a miserable effort for Chevrolet, which only placed 19-year-old rookie Rinus Veekay from Ed Carpenter Racing in the fast nine. The Chevy camp has struggled with straight speed, and all four of the flagship Team Penske entries will start deep in the field.

Josef Newgarden, the reigning series champion, was the highest-qualifying Penske driver at 13th. Will Power was 22nd, defending race winner Simon Pagenaud was 25th and three-time winner Helio Castroneves was 28th.

The race was originally scheduled for its traditional Memorial Day weekend date but was pushed to Aug. 23 because of the pandemic. Teams are not accustomed to these temperatures, and the heat has been one of Chevy’s biggest issues.


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