HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Quin Houff's first full-time season as a NASCAR Cup Series driver meant he was supposed to be racing each week in the sport's premier events.
But COVID-19 has put the NASCAR season on hold.
"It's tough," said Houff, a native of Weyers Cave who still lives in the Valley. "All the hard work you put in and all the sponsors that we have gotten behind us to support us at these races...It's very frustrating for us and for them."
Houff and his fellow drivers learned Monday night there would be no NASCAR race events through May 3. The sport has postponed competition in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The next scheduled race is at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia on Saturday, May 9.
"At the end of the day it's more about everyone's safety and health," said Houff. "I know NASCAR did it in that interest."
With official competition postponed, Houff says he will spend time at his home practicing with a racing simulation set-up.
"It's almost as realistic as you can get out of a race car," said Houff, who plans to use a simulator made by Sim Seats based out of Richmond, Virginia. "The whole deal, the steering wheel, the hydraulic pedals, the racing seat, the wrap around screen and surround sound."
Time away from the track is dramatic a change for most NASCAR drivers but for Houff it could be an advantage. He spent time last season as a part-time driver at the Cup Series level and has had breaks in his scheduled before.
"I've been in a situation where I've had a few weeks or a month off here and there the past few years where (other drivers) don't so they might get a little bit rustier faster than I would," said Houff with a chuckle. "But obviously we are coming up on some racetracks that I have little to no experience at and I am going to be preparing hard for them with this extra time."