eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Bristol Advance
• Race: Food City Showdown (Round 3)
• Series: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
• Time/Date: 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 5
• Location: Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
• Format: Two 50-lap heat races followed by a 150-lap main event
• Note: Finish of each heat race determines starting order of main event.
Where to Watch:
• FOX network
• Announcers: Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds, with in-race commentary from Clint Bowyer.
• FS1 (DIRECTV Channel 219 and Dish Channel 150)
• FOX Sports Go app
• FOX Sports Racing for fans in Canada
• Last Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway was the most-watched esports event on TV in United States history. Simulcast on FOX and FS1, 1.34 million viewers tuned in, breaking the previous record set by the first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race March 22 at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway by 47 percent. That broadcast earned 903,000 viewers on FS1 alone, which bested the previous record of 770,000 viewers when Mortal Kombat aired on The CW in 2016.
• The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of past and present racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series.
• The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
• With the sports world on a necessary hiatus to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series exists in place of actual NASCAR events.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Messages Toyota Camry:
What was the difference between Texas and Homestead, and what have you learned about iRacing over the first two races?
“I’ve learned a little bit about it but, overall, I felt like we were pretty good at Homestead coming from the back and picking off a few guys and passing some cars. Then the crashes would happen and I would never be able to slow up or check up quick enough. These cars online here, they bounce off the wall way faster than they do in real life, so trying to judge how they ricochet and what is going to happen is hard to do. Last week at Texas, we got caught up in that first wreck. I think being able to qualify up front and get some track position – that would be nice to start with and seems important. I’m sure it’s even more important at a place like Bristol, so we’ll see if we can get a good finish this weekend with our M&M’S Messages Camry.”
• This will be Busch’s third iRacing start in a virtual NASCAR Cup Series race.
• Busch’s virtual M&M’S Toyota features the new M&M’S Messages program, in stores now. These new packages display 36 different messages consumers can share with their friends and family, including expressions like, “Thanks for being as awesome as I am,” which will adorn the hood of the car, along with others like “You Make Mama Proud” and “Emotional Support Candy.” M&M’S Messages come in all of the favorite M&M’S flavors – Milk Chocolate, Peanut, Peanut Butter and Caramel.
• For the first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race two weeks ago, ARCA Menards Series driver Ty Gibbs helped Busch get up to speed in his iRacing rig as Busch had never tried iRacing until practice the day prior to the March 22 race at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. Prior to last week’s race at Texas, Busch had a rig brought to his house and has been busy practicing each week. William Hartman, Busch’s engineer on his regular No. 18 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series, has been serving as crew chief for Busch each week. In addition to Hartman, Busch’s real-life spotter Tony Hirschman is spotting for the second consecutive race this weekend from his home in Pennsylvania.
• In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Bristol, Busch is the winningest active driver with eight wins, 12 top-fives, 17 top-10s and an astounding 2,334 laps led in 29 career starts.
— True Speed Communications —