While NASCAR’s on-track activity has been postponed through the weekend of May 3rd to align with CDC guidance, drivers and fans are turning to the virtual world to see some of the best racing competition around.
NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports teamed up to deliver the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event, the Dixie Vodka 150, at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway after all national pro sports were put on hold due to the pandemic a few weeks ago. FOX Sports later committed to covering the remainder of the season, which began Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m. ET from virtual Texas Motor Speedway.
The third race of the series was at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, where iRacing veteran William Byron took the checkered flag. Next, the series went to virtual Richmond Raceway, where Byron once again took the checkered flag and won back-to-back races. Last weekend’s race at virtual Talladega Superspeedway was won by Alex Bowman.
Corey LaJoie finished runner-up, Ryan Preece finished third, Garrett Smithley finished fourth and Landon Cassill rounded out the top five. Jeff Gordon, who had only been in the iRacing broadcast booth, got behind the wheel of the No. 24 over the weekend and made his iRacing debut. After some on-track incidents, he finished 38th.
The series’ opening event on March 22, won by three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, drew 903,000 viewers on FS1. The second series race at Texas Motor Speedway, won by Timmy Hill, drew 1.3 million viewers. Bristol’s virtual race drew 1.179 million viewers and got a 0.81 rating, won by Byron. Richmond’s virtual event, also won by Byron, earned 971,000 viewers and was the second-most watched sports event of the weekend.
Most recently, Talladega’s virtual event earned 1.24 million viewers and is the second-highest viewed NASCAR iRacing event so far.
This weekend, the series heads to the Monster Mile to take on the virtual 1-mile oval at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, FS1 and FOX Sports app.