Fox to Broadcast Virtual NASCAR Races Using Real Drivers

Fox and NASCAR held a test lap of sorts on March 22 with its eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series Invitational opener and after its success, Fox has decided to air the remainder of the virtual season on its channels.NASCAR racers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte headlined Sunday’s eNASCAR race that drew in over 900,000 viewers. Sunday’s race was the most talked-about TV program that day on Twitter, according to NASCAR. Three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin took home the win, but he and other racers will now be competing online for the remainder of the season in the PC game, iRacing.

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“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,” Fox Sports Executive Producer Brad Zager said. “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 standard Fox NASCAR broadcast team consisting of Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Larry McReynolds will continue to commentate on the action found in the virtual races, just as they would for the organization’s actual races. Gordon said he’s excited to bring a “bit of normalcy back to the weekend” with these races.

These esports races will include simulation races from competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and other NASCAR series.The next race is scheduled for Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m. EST. It will be broadcast live from a virtual Texas Motor Speedway and can be viewed on the Fox broadcast network channels, FS1, and the Fox Sports app.

NASCAR isn’t the first racing organization to turn to virtual races in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All Supercars drivers will participate in a Supercars All Stars Eseries of races while the regular season is postponed. F1 drivers are doing the same through F1 2019. Here are some ways to help others and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.

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