• Fox will simulcast the remaining eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series season.
• iRacing Invitational is an eSports competition featuring real NASCAR racers driving simulators.
• Last Sunday's iRacing on Fox Sports scored over 900,000 viewers on FS1.
NASCAR racing fans have been without their favorite sport since the COVID-19 pandemic led to cancellations across the entire sports world, but now they can watch their favorite drivers compete behind the wheel again. After a successful debut this past weekend, Fox has announced that it will air the remaining eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series season on Fox, FS1, and the Fox Sports App.
The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series has so many of the things fans love about regular NASCAR races, and that is by design. This may be an eSports competition, but it has real NASCAR racers from all the different Series, including Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Ty Majeski. The simulation will put many drivers inside of digital versions of their signature cars they use on the CUP Series races, including the same numbers and sponsors. They will also race on digital versions of famous tracks, including this week's race from a virtual Texas Motor Speedway.
While the Pro Invitational Series is new, as a response to the inability to race in front of fans right now, NASCAR and iRacing have been partners for years. The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series is in it's 11th season, with professional eSports racers competing in live streamed races. The Pro Invitational series kicked off on March 22, and it scored big with over 900,000 viewers watching the first race on FS1. In this strange world without live sports, Fox was clearly pleased with this result since they moved to a wider simulcast on Fox, FS1 and the Fox Sports app starting this Sunday, March 29 at 1 p.m.
The SIM racing gear that the drivers use varies, with some using a simple steering wheel and gear shift connected to a laptop, while others use very cool full simulators, with wrap around screens, custom chairs and gauges. Check out Denny Hamlin's gear, which he gave a glimpse of on Twitter.
During Sunday's iRacing event, I'm pledging $100 for each lap I lead and $5000 if I win the race to benefit families affected by COVID-19 in the Homestead-Miami area. @NASCAR_FDN@feedthechildren. Who's with me? @JoeGibbsRacing@KyleBusch. For more info https://t.co/tibiUfh4oKhttps://t.co/tH3q2EfD4Rpic.twitter.com/1ADXTXOPoe — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) March 20, 2020 March 20, 2020
The schedule for the remaining races in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series should be released soon. It is safe to expect these eSports races to continue at least until NASCAR has a better idea when traditional races can resume.
Green Flag for SIM racing
eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series streaming easily from anywhere.
Hulu has live TV including sports networks along with a huge back catalog of shows. Hulu has Live eSports too, with eNASCAR Pro Series for pro drivers in SIM racing on Fox & FS1.
iRacing Season Simulcast on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports App Beginning Sunday from Virtual Texas Motor Speedway
Inaugural FOX NASCAR iRACING Event Draws More Than 900,000 Viewers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Last Sunday, NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports teamed up to deliver the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event. Today, FOX Sports is committing to coverage of the remainder of the season, beginning Sunday, March 29, at 1:00 PM ET live from virtual Texas Motor Speedway. Entitled FOX NASCAR iRACING, the races will be simulcast on the FOX broadcast network*, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Races will be available in Canada through FOX Sports Racing.
Last Sunday's inaugural event, won by three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, according to Nielsen Media Research. FOX SPORTS iRACING was the most-watched telecast on FS1 since the pandemic-induced sports shutdown began on March 12 and Sunday's most-watched sports telecast on cable television, as well as ranks as the highest-rated esports TV program in history.
Additionally, according to rankings by Twitter interactions, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on FS1 was the #1 most-social TV program overall on Sunday. NASCAR-owned content related to the event also produced more than one million engagements throughout the weekend.
"This rapid-fire collaboration between FOX Sports, NASCAR and iRacing obviously has resonated with race fans, gamers and television viewers across the country in a very positive way," said Brad Zager, FOX Sports Executive Producer, EVP/Head of Production & Operations. "We have learned so much in a relatively short period of time, and we are excited to expand coverage of this brand-new NASCAR esports series to an even wider audience."
The FOX NASCAR broadcast team of Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds continues to call the action from FOX NASCAR studios in Charlotte, with NASCAR CUP SERIES driver Clint Bowyer providing "in-car" commentary.
"The response on social media to last Sunday's race has been incredible," Gordon said. "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."
Under the banner FOX NASCAR iRACING, FOX Sports covers simulation-style esports races that include a cross-section of competitors from the NASCAR CUP SERIES, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES, NASCAR GANDER RV & OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES and a group of NASCAR dignitaries.
"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," said Tim Clark, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, NASCAR. "We are committed to running these eNASCAR iRacing events as long as necessary. Providing a platform for our fans to watch and engage with their favorite drivers is our number one priority."
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Roy Delgado is a freelance writer for WhatToWatch. His focus is streaming, specializing on sports. He binge-streams 32 games over the first two days of NCAA March Madness annually. He built his own DVR 15 years ago, and still tinkers to make his media setup its best.