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How Daytona and Indy Speedways Are Doing High School Graduations Now

For some teens, the race to their high school diploma will finish under the checkered flag.

Grinding your way through four years of high school only to be told you’ll graduate without pomp due to a virus outbreak would be one of the biggest letdowns of any young person’s life. Some schools close to major NASCAR speedways, however, have worked out ways to give grads the ceremonies they deserve while maintaining social distance by letting the high school classes of 2020 mark the end of their school years not just by crossing the stage, but also the start-finish line of world-famous racetracks.

Two such events will be held on May 31 at Daytona International Speedway. According to NBC Sports, graduates will stroll across the stage of the Ocean Center to receive their diplomas before climbing into their family’s cars and driving across the start-finish line of the banked oval. Similar formalities will be held out west at Phoenix Raceway, which on May 16 will host the graduation of more than 1,000 Buckeye Union High School District students, who will be led by a pace car around the track in their vehicles as graduates’ names are read off over the PA system. On June 12, North Pocono School District host its graduations at Pocono Raceway, where students will be called one-by-one to drive themselves across the finish line.

Other tracks such as Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway will host similar, if slightly less grandiose ceremonies. In the former’s case, Speedway High School’s class of 2020 will receive diplomas by walking across the one yard-wide strip of exposed brick at the track’s finish line according to Indy Star.

Fun fact: Speedway High School’s mascot is a Spark Plug.

Down in Texas, every school district in Denton County will congregate at the Texas Motor Speedway where grads’ families will be corralled into the infield to watch their graduates receive diplomas in Victory Lane on the circuit’s giant screen, nicknamed the “Big Hoss.” While there won’t be any ceremonial line-crossing, graduates will likely be grateful to get any ceremony whatsoever, as many of their peers have to make do with a honk or two from family and friends as they drive by their homes.

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