news 6 days ago

What is NASCAR's iRacing Pro Series? Start time, drivers participating & how to watch the virtual races

Sporting News — (Dan Bernstein)

NASCAR has quickly found a way to fill weekend time for racing fans even with tracks closed because of the spread of the coronavirus.

Starting on Sunday, it will kick-off a multi-week eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series consisting of actually NASCAR drivers virtually racing against one another in the simulation game "iRacing." Among the drivers selected to participate are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

This weekend's race will be set at a virtual rendition of Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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“Until we have cars back on track, the entire NASCAR community has aligned to provide our passionate fans with a unique, fun and competitive experience on race day,” wrote vice president of development Ben Kennedy in a statement. “Our long-time partners at iRacing offer an incredible product and we are excited to see how many of our best drivers will stack up in the virtual domain of competitive racing.”

NASCAR has postponed its Cup Series until May 3.

Here is everything you need to know about the new eNASCAR exhibition:

What is the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series?

It's real drivers competing against one another on virtual simulation race tracks, with the contests broadcast live, presumably including plenty of humor and banter. While the drivers will no doubt want to push themselves to victory, a key part of the draw is the entertainment value of watching them outside of their normal element.

Sunday's race will include 100 laps at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR iRacing series schedule

  • Start time: 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 22

The first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series race is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 22. Dates and times for the rest of the series remain TBD.

How to watch NASCAR iRacing races

  • TV channel: FS1

The first race of the series will be televised live on FS1. Fox has selected Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds to be the announcing team.

Fans can watch the competition online by streaming from the FoxSports app.

Which drivers will be competing?

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell are all expected to compete in the iRacing Pro Series. Also on the list of participants: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and William Byron, as well as a handful of others included below.