Austin Dillon has become the fourth NASCAR Cup driver to have tested positive for COVID-19 and will how miss the race on the Daytona Road Course this weekend.
The Richard Childress Racing team announced on Saturday morning that Dillon had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and, according to NASCAR protocols, would enter a period of self-quarantine.
Kaz Grala, who races for RCR in the lower NASCAR Xfinity Series on a part-time basis, will compete in the Sunday Cup Series race at Daytona in Dillon’s place.
In order to return to competition, Dillon will now need to receive two negative test results at least 24 hours apart and medical clearance from his doctor.
Dillon joins seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Cup part-time racer Brendan Gaughan and Truck series pilot Spencer Davis as drivers to have tested positive for COVID-19 this season.
Johnson and Davis both missed races as a result.
A statement from the RCR outfit read: “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, 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 in 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 already locked into the 2020 Cup Series playoffs thanks to his victory in Texas last month.
He will likely receive a medical waiver from NASCAR for races he misses during his absence at the track.
According to RCR – which enters two Chevrolet Camara ZL1 1LEs in the Cup tier – Dillon’s wife Whitney and their infant son Ace both remain symptom-free.
Dillon is currently 17th in the standings, level pegging on 501 points with team-mate Tyler Reddick after 22 races of the 36-round calendar.