NASCAR Fans Turn to iRacing During Sporting World Shutdown
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
Denny Hamlin powered to the side of Dale Earnhardt Jr on Sunday to take the lead on the final turn at Homestead Miami Speedway to win an exciting running of the Dixie Vodka 150. But there was no one at the track outside of Miami, Florida, let alone 35 racecars, drivers, teams, and a complete broadcast team.
The fans that packed the stands were all virtual, but a million people watched at home.
So many fans in fact, that NASCAR has announced the live broadcast of more virtual racing events.
The move helps fills a void left by the shuttering of professional sports during the Corona Virus Covid-19 pandemic. Real drivers will climb into their seats, grab the steering wheel and go racing.
NASCAR, and other series including IndyCar, are the only major league sports that can provide a live event and still have it even somewhat compare to a normal race weekend.
What is iRacing? iRacing Simply Explained
Yes, other sports can live-stream their players taking part in a video game contest, but it’s still just a game.
NASCAR can still race, even though there is no activity at the track.
The reason comes down to the advancements at iRacing.com – which is a company that hosts virtual races. They have scanned all the tracks down to the finest detail.
iRacing: The Original eSport Racing Game
iRacing has perfected their computer simulations so much that tire wear and gas mileage come into play. Dented fenders and sheet metal rubs can end a race as can damage to a radiator due to a wreck.
The technology has advanced so much that professional drivers, and teams, heavily lean on the iRacing platform to allow their drivers to turn laps at a track without sending a car hauler to a facility.
The fun part is that the iRacing platform is also open to consumers at home.
You can spend $200 for a gaming steering wheel mounted to the kitchen table complete with pedals and a home computer. Or, you can sink a couple of thousand bucks – or more – into your simulator and have something like the race teams have in their shops or the pro drivers have at their house.
The Difference Between NASCAR and Other Sports
Imagine being a kid sitting at home getting ready to race in an iRacing event and seeing the name of a real race car driver pop up on the screen!
Ok, it does not happen that quick. Like real racing, iRacers must compete to get better and move up the ladder. This is where the difference between what NASCAR and IndyCar can do comes into play.
New drivers start as rookies and must get better to move upward. And, you can be banned from the platform if you drive recklessly or wreck people on purpose. So there will not be any players involved that simply want to ruin things by causing endless wrecks or spend an entire race doing donuts or racing the track backward.
Other sports “video” games are open to troublemakers which pile beginners and longtime players into the same game.
That’s not the case on the iRacing platform at this level. eNASCAR, iRacing, and other motorsports series including Indy, F1, and ISMA, are uniquely prepared to continue some form of competitive competition on a national basis.
NASCAR has announced that the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series will move forward and that the next race will take place at the virtual version of Texas Motor Speedway.
The plan now, according to Tim Clark of NASCAR’s digital division, is to follow the basic schedule of the Cup Series. If they were going to run in Texas before Covid-19, then their series will mimic the schedule and race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The regular eNASCAR Series will continue with its weekday schedule of races and there are plenty of other Series worth tuning into via live streaming the iRacing channel on the Twitch online platform.
> FS1, Texas Motor Speedway at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.
> eNASCAR Coke Series weekly schedule available on eNASCAR.com
Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and
sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional
culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles
Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history
and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My
books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and
sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of
Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a
celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network.
He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National
Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL,
SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:
·Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue
·The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook
·Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian
·Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing
·The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook,
as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West
Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.
·The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A
·Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of
·Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt
the Mountains Smokey?
Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies
include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H.
Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson,
hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That
show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50
Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard
Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service
Specialist and National Branch Chief.
Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY
Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram