Last weekend FOX Sports aired the very first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race in lieu of the actual race in Homestead-Miami which had been postponed due to the Covid-19 virus and the bans on crowds.
That inaugural race with Denny Hamlin just edging out Dale Earnhardt Jr for the win drew nearly one million viewers, making it the most watched sports program on Sunday and since the shutdown of live sporting events on March 12. In addition, the iRacing event topped the list of tweeting and interactions on Twitter.
FOX Sports has announced that they will be broadcasting the rest of the Pro Invitational Series races beginning with the virtual Texas Motor Speedway on March 29. The races will be aired in the United States and Canada.
FOX broadcasters Mike Joy, former NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, and former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds will continue to cover the races from the studios in Charlotte with Clint Bowyer serving as the in car / driver commentator.
Jeff Gordon spoke on the social media popularity saying, “the response on social media to last Sunday’s race has been incredible. We were able to broadcast a virtual race that was exciting and entertaining. It brought a little bit of ‘normalcy’ back to the weekend, and I can’t wait to call the action Sunday at Texas.”
Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for NASCAR Time Clark spoke on the first race saying, “we’re overwhelmed by the positive feedback and encouragement sent by industry stakeholders, drivers, partners, media and most importantly, our fans. We all can’t wait to get back to racing and our partners at iRacing and FOX have worked with us to do just that – race.”
iRacing is more than a video game, the drivers compete using simulators that feature virtual reality graphics that imitate the real tracks right down to the bumps on the racing surface. The Pro Invitational Series features drivers from the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, and Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series; as well as, retired NASCAR drivers.