HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The stars of NASCAR will be back for fans across America this weekend, just in a slightly different form than they have been in recent years in the sport.
Officials from the sanctioning body are teaming up with iRacing to put on an exhibition esports racing series starting Sunday afternoon, filling the void left by the postponement of NASCAR Cup Series action over the next several weeks.
The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational will feature stars from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, as well as a group of NASCAR dignitaries.
Drivers expected to be competing include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell.
A multi-week series, the Pro Invitational will begin on March 22 at 1:30 p.m. ET at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. Additional race and broadcast details will be announced later.
“Until we have cars back on the race track, the entire NASCAR community has aligned to provide our passionate fans with a unique, fun and competitive experience on race day,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s Vice President of Racing Development. “Our longtime 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.”
The opening for an iRacing-based exhibition series comes in the wake of the postponement of all NASCAR national series events through May 3 in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Sunday’s planned event follows in the footsteps of last weekend’s The Replacements 100, set up by Cup Series spotters T.J. Majors and Kevin Hamlin, which featured multiple industry members and drivers from all three of the NASCAR national divisions, including now-NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr.
That event was broadcast via Podium eSports, with SPEED SPORT’s Jacob Seelman serving as one of the commentary crew, and won by Team Penske spotter Josh Williams over Cup Series star William Byron.
Another major iRacing broadcast – put together by NASCAR Xfinity Series young gun Ryan Vargas – is scheduled for Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET, also broadcast through Podium eSports.