Leagues and Governing Bodies

Some NASCAR drivers staying quiet on vaccine as playoffs start

NASCAR HOFer Richard Petty was featured in a March PSA in which the 84-year-old was "shown receiving his COVID-19 vaccine and encouraging others to do the same," but since then, "only a handful of the sport’s most high-profile figures ... have shared that they're vaccinated, and not all are throwing their full support behind it," according to Alex Andrejev of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Cup drivers Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick and William Byron all have "shared that they've been vaccinated." No additional Cup drivers in the 16-driver playoff field "shared their vaccination status when presented an opportunity to do so" last week. NASCAR has "declined to announce its industry vaccination rates," a "contrast to what sports leagues and motorsports series have done." The NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLS and IndyCar all have "announced vaccination rates around or above 90%." In early June, NASCAR said that getting the fully vaccinated rate "within the industry above the 70% threshold was critical to reducing the potential impact of the virus on NASCAR events." Earlier this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps said that the sanctioning body "would ask the drivers to promote that vaccination process." But those voices have "remained relatively quiet as certain restrictions have been reinstated." NASCAR and its top drivers "might not want to say much when it comes to the vaccine," but with the "not-quite-back-to-normal championship battle playing out over the next two months, now especially, is the time for the sport and its biggest players to at least say more" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/6).

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