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The latest update as of March 13, 2020

AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

The 51st edition of the NHRA Gatornationals began at Gainesville Raceway as scheduled yesterday, but with a major twist in this year's event. For the first - and hopefully last - time ever, NO professional race cars were in attendance, and even stranger, not a single spectator was in the grandstands.

In the very unlikely event that you've been living under a rock, on a return trip from the Moon, or in a coma, there's been a major disruption in the world we live in - the COVID-19 virus - and it's effects are wreaking havoc on a larger and more widespread basis virtually hour by hour. In the past week we've seen international borders closed, travel restrictions put into effect, and now, large public events postponed or cancelled.

When the magnitude of this situation really started to hit home to me yesterday, it was the suspension of all NHL hockey games until further notice, then in rapid succession, virtually all sports events - large and small - professional and amateur. It quickly began to dawn on me that drag racing would be next and before the day was over, it became official: the Gatornationals was being downsized to the Sportsman categories, the spectator gates were closed, and unless there is a major turnaround in the spreading and control of the virus, we can expect to see dragstrips everywhere on this planet turn into ghost towns for the foreseeable future.

It's difficult to conceive of this happening, as the sport has continued even when there were major world crises happening - wars, disease outbreaks, even 9-11, but this current coronavirus has topped them all in it's impact on the world in general and sports in particular. At this time we can only wait and hope that the medical community can effectively deal with the virus and we can all get back to the world we knew before this week's rapid downward spiral.