NASCAR Announces iRacing eSports Series With Pro Drivers Following Coronavirus Shutdown

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) has really done a number on the United States, disrupting how we work, learn, and even shop. And even our areas of leisure haven't been spared, as MLB spring training, NBA, and NHL games have been canceled for obvious reasons -- thousands of people meandering in close quarters isn't a good idea these days.

NASCAR has also had to cancel races due to the coronavirus, but the racing body has come up with a rather inventive solution. NASCAR, Fox Sports, and iRacing have announced the launch of the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Rather than duking it out on a real-life track -- one left turn at a time -- drivers will be taking part in virtual races in iRacing.

This eSports simulation competition will include some big names -- both past and present -- in the racing world including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin. And to round out that list of NASCAR legends participating, Fox Sports broadcaster Jeff Gordon will be commentating the event, which will last 90 minutes. There will also be drivers from the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series taking part in the new eNASCAR series.

“This is a unique opportunity to offer competitive and entertaining racing to our viewers as we all work through these challenging times together,” said Fox Sports Executive President Brad Zager. "We value our relationships across the NASCAR community and appreciate all of the effort that it took in bringing this project to life.”

The first race will take place on Sunday, March 22nd at 1:30pm EST and will be available to watch on FS1 and within the Fox Sports app. While it isn't a complete replacement for the sights, sounds and smells of being at an actual NASCAR race -- or even watching one on television -- the fact that you'll have colorful personalities duking it out in a racing simulation is a decent consolation prize. 

And best yet, you the viewing public and the drivers involved won't have to worry about being exposed to the coronavirus, with Zager adding, “We are following CDC guidelines to maintain a safe work environment."

This Sunday's race will be the first in hopefully a weekly events to help NASCAR fans blunt some of the frustrations of not being able to experience the "real thing" on Sunday afternoons.