After missing the GoBowling.com 235 on the Daytona International Speedway on Aug. 16 because of a positive COVID-19 test, Austin Dillon has been cleared to return to NASCAR Cup Series competition for the Cup Series doubleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway that includes races Saturday and Sunday.
“Richard Childress Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series driver Austin Dillon will return to competition for this weekend’s doubleheader at Dover International Speedway,” a statement from Richard Childress Racing on Thursday read. “Dillon, who originally tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, August 15, and missed the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Daytona International Speedway road course, has worked with NASCAR, his primary care physician and RCR’s health partners at Wake-Forest Baptist Health, and has had two negative COVID-19 test results at least 24 hours apart. We commend NASCAR for their efforts in providing a safe environment for all fans and competitors, thank everyone in the industry for their well wishes and enthusiastically welcome Austin Dillon back to competition.”
Kaz Grala was the substitute driver for Dillon in the #3 RCR entry at Daytona and finished seventh in the Cup Series debut.
Missing the Daytona race resulted in Dillon dropping to 18th in the Cup Series driver points standings, but, with a win earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway, Dillon already has clinched a playoff berth. NASCAR has issued a waiver to him, allowing him to participate in the playoffs despite missing a race.
Dillon was the second Cup Series driver and third driver in a NASCAR national series to miss a race because of a COVID-19 test. Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson missed the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400, also known as the Brickyard 400, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Spencer Davis missed one of that series’ races at Michigan International Speedway. Part-time Cup Series driver Brendan Gaughan also recently tested positive for COVID-19, but his diagnosis came during a lengthy period he was not scheduled to contest any races.