NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports joined forces last month to create the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series after social distancing guidelines forced NASCAR to suspend its schedule. NASCAR drivers and dignitaries such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer have been competing every Sunday using virtual NASCAR Cup Series cars on digital replicas of NASCAR’s most iconic tracks.
The virtual racing series has drawn fans. Nearly 1 million viewers tuned in on FS1 to watch the inaugural race March 15. Since then FOX Sports has expanded broadcast coverage to the FOX Network, making the races the most viewed eSports TV broadcasts ever.
Sunday’s race at the virtual Talladega Superspeedway will be broadcast on FS1 and FOX starting at noon. It is the same day NASCAR’s Geico 500 was scheduled to run before the COVID-19 pandemic. NASCAR released a statement April 17 saying the schedule will remain suspended through at least May 9.
“Our intention remains to run all 36 races, with a potential return to racing without fans in attendance in May at a date and location to be determined,” the statement said. “The health and safety of our competitors, employees, fans and the communities in which we run continues to be our top priority. We will continue to consult with health experts and local, state and federal officials as we assess future scheduling options.”