After a two-month stoppage in action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NASCAR Cup Series is back and ready to take on Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) in The Real Heroes 400.
During the season’s down time, many Cup drivers and honorary invitees took part in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. The series was put together in order to give drivers and fans a sense of normalcy and to keep racing competition in the front of their minds.
From various winners to exciting entry lists, the debut of a new virtual but historic real track and broadcasts from the FOX Sports group, the Pro Invitational Series took the racing world by storm.
Denny Hamlin took home the victory in the opening event at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and ended up winning the final race of the series last weekend at virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Underdog Cup Series driver Timmy Hill won the race at virtual Texas Motor Speedway and iRacing veteran William Byron dominated the series with wins at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, virtual Richmond Raceway and virtual Dover International Speedway. Alex Bowman took home the victory at virtual Talladega Superspeedway.
In the midst of a global crisis, NASCAR and its teams came together to provide something fun to the industry and its fans.
But, now it’s time to go back to real-time racing and the drivers are more than ready and excited to be back.
“I think the mindset for Turn 1 at the start of Darlington, and really all the races where we haven’t been on track yet, would be to take it easy. It’s a 400-mile race on Sunday and there will be plenty of time. Plus, my understanding is there will be a caution early for everyone to look over their tires and their car. We’ll certainly take it easy until then because that will give us time to feel out how the car is handling and more confidence in how to drive again and get the right feel back under you again. It won’t take too long to get acclimated again,” said Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.