All sports are esports now.
After a successful first virtual NASCAR race over the weekend, where a mix of current and former drivers raced each other online and a lot of people watched, Fox and NASCAR have decided that they’re going to broadcast a whole season of it on TV.
The first eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event, held on Sunday, was—like Formula 1’s move to video game competition—a chance for both drivers and fans to get some kind of racing fix in these weird and challenging times. In first place was three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, and nearly one million people watched it on Fox, so now a whole season of it, called FOX NASCAR iRACING, is going to take place.
Here’s a recap of Sunday’s race:
Drivers taking part are coming from (caps lock warning) NASCAR CUP SERIES, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES, NASCAR GANDER RV and OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES, along with “a group of NASCAR dignitaries”, like the recently-retired Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Bobby Labonte.
In a nice touch the races will be commentated by NASCAR’s actual booth team of Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds, and each race is going to stick to NASCAR tradition like a prayer and national anthem.
In the absence of an actual licensed NASCAR game for everyone to play, the action is being run via the online PC game iRacing.