NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR To Use Dogs To Detect COVID-19 At Atlanta Motor Speedway

Updated Jul. 20, 2021 7:36 p.m. ET

By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer

The biggest criticism thus far of NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols has been that NASCAR isn’t testing participants.

This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR won’t test everyone with a nasal swab but will instead rely on the noses of dogs.

NASCAR will use the 360 K9 Group, a provider of specialized detection dogs that has successfully trained the animals to detect COVID-19 as a way to screen drivers, crew members and vendors as they enter the garage. 

In a bulletin sent to teams, NASCAR said: "These dogs have shown to be as effective as PCR test in identifying an infected person, and are being used by professional sports teams, hospitals and many other businesses to screen employees and guests."

A NASCAR spokesman said NASCAR will take what it learns at Atlanta and then decide on next steps regarding potential future use for both competitor and guest areas of events. Whether this could lead to changes in other protocols – such as media or sponsor guests in the garage or relaxing mask mandates – remains to be seen.

If a dog indicates a person might have COVID, NASCAR’s safety team (run by American Medical Response) will conduct a secondary screening, which typically includes a rapid PCR test. The lead AMR physician will then determine if a driver or crew member is cleared to participate.

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NASCAR’s individual prerace questionnaire asks for COVID and vaccination histories, so NASCAR will know if a participant has recently had COVID or been vaccinated.

Bob Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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