• 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
• Twitch.tv/StewartHaaseSports (Stream begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT)
• 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.
Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“It’s as if iRacing had been started and built 15 years ago for this very moment, for this very situation. I’ve watched these races and, production-wise, I’ve known that it was good and it keeps getting better. The camera angles, everything, it’s pretty damn realistic and pretty damn good, and I think this weekend at Bristol will be even bigger.
“There are certain guys that when you get on the sim in any given week, whether it’s the day or the evening, that you look for because you know that they’ve got experience and track time and seat time in the sim and on iRacing. Parker Kligerman, Garrett Smithley, Timmy Hill, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. – these are all guys that have a ton of experience. When they get on the racetrack, trust me, you need to get out there with them and learn as much as you can, follow them and everything else. You’ll see my Smithfield Ford Mustang behind them so I can figure out how to eventually get in front of them.”
• Bowyer started 15th and finished 11th in last week’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Texas.
• Bowyer considers himself a hobby iRacer. Sunday’s race at Bristol will be just his third official iRacing start in a virtual NASCAR Cup Series race.
• Bowyer’s eponymous iRacing team competes in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series with drivers Brandon Kettelle and Brian Schoenberg, and Bowyer’s dirt late model team has been sponsored by iRacing for several years.
• In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Bristol, Bowyer has seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 28 career starts.
• Bowyer’s best Bristol finish is second, earned in April 2017.
— True Speed Communications —