NASCAR rolls into Atlanta this weekend for the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500, and for the event, the organization will debut a new line of defense against COVID in the form of ‘VID-sniffing dogs who can sniff out the virus in 30 seconds, according to NASCAR’s operations department.
Dogs will be screening drivers, crews, pit staff and staff who are working at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Fans who attend the race won’t go through screening from the virus pups.
“We think that these dogs and this capability is going to allow us to rapidly confirm that all of those people entering the essential footprint on Sunday — that’s race teams, that’s NASCAR officials, that’s the vendors that work inside the garage — all those folks are COVID-free or not,” Tom Bryant, NASCAR’s managing director of racing operations, said via NASCAR.com.
“The ability to do that has kind of been the math problem that we have continuously tried to solve since March of last year.”
This will be a trial run, but NASCAR will be watching closely to see if this is something worthwhile to bring to more tracks. The dogs are said to have a 98% accuracy rate in locating the presence of the ‘VID.
“This gives us essentially an ability to test that essential population on race day and know right away that those folks who have cleared this enhanced screening process with a very high degree of confidence are COVID-free,” Bryant added. “We’ll learn from what we do Sunday, and we’ll figure the ways to best employ this capability moving forward to ensure that we’re keeping the population as safe as we can, keeping the least amount of risk in the environment.”
The Miami Heat have been using COVID-sniffing pups this season to scan fans entering American Airlines Arena. It’s unclear how many fans have been stopped by the dogs.