Wednesday night marks the return of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Front Row Motorsports (FRM) driver Michael McDowell and Anthony Alfredo will both compete in the event hosted by eNASCAR and FOX Sports at the virtual dirt Bristol Motor Speedway. The event will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET with the 70-lap main event set to take the green at 8:40 p.m. ET after a series of qualifying and heat races.
Seven drivers from three heat races will advance to make a 21-car main event.
Favored is Anthony Alfredo. Alfredo, who will sim race the No. 38 DUDE Wipes Ford Mustang, has been sim racing for years and has used iRacing as a platform to learn tracks and advance his career.
Alfredo talks about iRacing, the Pro Invitational Series and expectations for Wednesday night.
How did you get into iRacing?“I started iRacing when I started ‘real life’ racing. I discovered it online and realized it was a realistic training tool for drivers. It had actual scans of ‘real life’ tracks. So, I figured there was no better way for me to prepare for upcoming races, and even just to improve my general race craft as I was starting out. I was hopping on there and running online races against people around the world.”
Have you practiced the virtual Bristol dirt track on iRacing?“Yeah, I have. It’s definitely going to be interesting. I’m not sure. I’m really curious to see how it translates to ‘real life’ and hopefully it does because I’ve never dirt raced before. So, that will be all the experience I get for our race. I’m actually looking forward to turning a bunch of laps and, of course, racing against the same competitors I’ll be racing against this weekend.”
What are your expectations for Wednesday night?“I think the usual ‘dirt’ guys, that we expect to run well in ‘real life’, are also going to be good because iRacing is realistic. I think all there talent, ability and experience is going to pay dividends. However, there are just a lot of guys who find the sim different in the sense the feeling they might have depending on the rig they are in. I know that I have a lot of guys from iRacing I’ve met who are going to be helping me out. I think my overall sim experience should hopefully allow to me have a good day even though I don’t have a lot of dirt experience.”
What do you think of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series?“I think it’s awesome for iRacing and the sim community. It’s getting the exposure it deserves as being such a cool product for people to get closer to the racing industry and experience it for themselves. And, of course, for us drivers to engage with fans and race with people online all over the world. The cool thing about the Pro Invitational Series, especially last year when we weren’t racing, it was a cool supplement for the lack of real life events and a way to keep our partners entertained and do well for them. I take it really seriously and a way to prove myself. I plan to do the same this year. I use it as a way to prepare, too, since we don’t have any practice.
What makes you so good at iRacing?“Just the experience. I think it’s the same as ‘real life.’ I go out there right now as a Sunoco rookie in the Cup Series without any practice, and the lack of experience is the biggest challenge. I think it’s the same as in the sim. I get on there and it’s the opposite. I feel like the guy with the advantage over the rest of them- just because I’ve been on it for a while and I have a lot of friends who race professionally on the sim. They help me out a lot.”