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NHRA cancels Seattle race due to COVID-19 restrictions

The NHRA announced Thursday afternoon that the July 31-August 2 race in suburban Seattle has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state of Washington.

“For the event to proceed with fans in attendance, King County, where the track is located, would need to reach Phase 4 of Washington’s reopening plan,” an NHRA media release stated. “As of today, King County is still in Phase 2 and, with the time required before moving into subsequent phases, it would be very unlikely if not impossible to get to Phase 4 in time for the scheduled 2020 event.”

As a result, the revised NHRA schedule has been decreased from 19 to 18 races for this season (the original schedule had 24 events on it before the virus pandemic hit).

The race date at Seattle will not be relocated to another venue in another state, an NHRA official told NBC Sports.

“NHRA has hosted national events at Pacific Raceways for 38 years, including the last 32 straight,” Pacific Raceways general manager John Ramsey said in the NHRA release. “As hard as it is to cancel the race, the bright side is that we will be back next year and look forward to seeing the fans back as we celebrate the 33rd Annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals in 2021.”

The NHRA has been on hiatus since late February due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It had run only two races of the 2020 season before the hiatus.

Racing in front of fans is scheduled to resume next month with back-to-back races at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis on the weekends of July 10-11 and July 17-18.

The series then travels to the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Aug. 7-9 at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado.

That race will kick off a stretch of 13 consecutive weekends of racing leading up to the season-ending NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, California, November 13-15.

However, California has not reopened or loosened restrictions on outdoor sporting events, which could potentially lead to cancellation of the season finale for the first time in the event’s 56-year history.

“(That) would just be speculation,” an NHRA official told NBC Sports.

The NHRA Finals have been held every year since 1965, with the race being held at Pomona – on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Fairplex – since 1984.

Here is how the revised NHRA national event schedule looks after the Seattle race cancellation:

The revised schedule:

July 11-12: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis

July 18-19: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis

Aug. 7-9: Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Denver

Aug. 14-16: Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.

Aug. 21-23: Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kan.

Aug. 28-30: NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta

Sept. 3-6: Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis

Sept. 11-13: Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa.

Sept. 18-20: NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte

Sept. 25-27: Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla.

Oct. 2-4: AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis

Oct. 9-11: NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn.

Oct. 16-18: AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas

Oct. 23-25: Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals, Houston

Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Dodge NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas

Nov. 13-15: Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.

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