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eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series News & Notes – Virtual Bristol Motor Speedway


eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
Next Race: Food City Showdown
The Place: Virtual Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, April 5
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX (where available and subject to change), FS1 and FOX Sports App
Distance: Two heat races – 50 Laps (no elimination), Main Event – 150 Laps

Saturday Night Thunder 150
The Place: Virtual Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 4
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
Online: enascar.com/live
Distance: Four heat races – 20 Laps; Two Last Chance Qualifiers – 20 Laps; Main Event – 150 Laps

Gear up for the Food City Showdown at Bristol, baby!

While NASCAR’s on-track activity has been postponed through the weekend of May 3rd to align with CDC guidance, drivers and fans are turning to the virtual world to see some of the best racing competition around.

NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports teamed up to deliver the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event the Dixie Vodka 150 at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks ago. Last week, FOX Sports committed to covering the remainder of the season, which began Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m. ET from virtual Texas Motor Speedway with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125.

Entitled FOX NASCAR iRacing, the races will be simulcast on the FOX broadcast network where available, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Races will also be available in Canada through FOX Sports Racing.

The 130-lap virtual race event at Texas had various drivers fighting for the lead but was ultimately won by iRacing veteran and Cup Series underdog Timmy Hill, driver of the No. 66 Toyota. The win marked his 674th iRacing victory.

Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 37 finished second, Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 51, finished third, Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 89, finished fourth and Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 88, rounded out the top five. The top four drivers don’t typically run in the front of the pack on non-virtual race weekends but iRacing has given them the chance to compete up front in the similar equipment as the rest of the field.

The series inaugural event on March 22, won by three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, drew 903,000 viewers on FS1. Last weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, won by Hill, drew 1.3 million viewers. That was an increase since its viewership the weekend before at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and broke its own Esport television ratings record. A total of 1,339,000 people watched the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 across the FOX viewing platforms.

Fox Sports iRacing has been the most-watched telecast on FS1 since the pandemic-induced sports shutdown began on March 12 and Sunday’s most-watched sports telecast on cable television, as well as ranks as the highest-rated esports TV program in history.

Sunday’s Food City Showdown at Bristol Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FOX, FS1, FOX Sports App) will once again feature FOX NASCAR broadcasters Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds calling the action.

Bristol introduces Saturday Night Thunder

This weekend marks the introduction of a new iRacing event, the Saturday Night Thunder 150, that uses ARCA cars and includes drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

The format will be similar to short-track events and will feature multiple heat races and one main event. The event will be live streamed at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 4, at enascar.com/live.

The format will be as follows (all times ET):

7 p.m.: One-hour practice session goes live.

8:05 p.m.: Two-lap single-car qualifying session. This will set the starting grid for the heats.

8:08 p.m.:

  • Heat 1 starts. All heats will be 20 laps with no cautions and one reset. There will be four heats.
  • Heats will immediately be followed by two Last Chance Qualifiers. These will be 20 Laps with no cautions.
  • Heats will set the starting grid for 150 Lap Main Feature.
  • Main Feature Race will be 150 laps with manual cautions and one reset. There will also be three attempts at a Green/White/Checker finish.

NASCAR & Penn Interactive relaunch NASCAR Finish Line app for eNASCAR iRacing

Earlier this year, NASCAR and Penn Interactive, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc., announced a new multi-year partnership that led to the creation of a brand new, free-to-play, mobile game named NASCAR Finish Line, which offered users the chance to win a $50,000 jackpot every race.

Now, this weekend, the eNASCAR Finish Line mobile game is being relaunched and is available across iOS and Android phones and tablets and can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play store. With the relaunch, players can win a $5,000 jackpot by accurately predicting the top two finishers and the highest finishers across six different groupings of four drivers.

Denny Hamlin won the first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and Timmy Hill won the second event at virtual Texas Motor Speedway. Tune in this weekend to see the third eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event of the year from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, the Food City Showdown, being televised live at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports App.

Sunday’s run of show and race format

Sunday’s Food City Showdown has a different look this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The format will consist of a two-lap qualifying effort to determine the lineup for the heat races.

  • Drivers who qualify in an odd position (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will be placed in Heat 1.
  • Drivers who qualifying in an even position (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will be placed in Heat 2.

There will be two heat races, 50 laps each, with no elimination. Every driver will advance to the main 150-lap event. The heat races set the grid for the main event and the winner of the first heat race will start on the pole. Cautions will be enabled during the heat races and drivers will receive two "resets" for their heat races, unused "resets" do not carry over to the main race.

Additionally:

    • Finishing order from Heat 1 will determine odd positions for the Main Event (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.)

      • The Busch Pole will be awarded to the winner of Heat 1

    • Finishing order from Heat #2 will determine even grid positions for the Main Event (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.)

  • No drivers will be eliminated in these races; all 32 competitors will advance.

Sunday’s Food City Showdown will consist of 150 laps with double-file restarts and lapped cars will go to the rear. There will be three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, if necessary.

Drivers will be allowed two resets this week at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. If a car is damaged, drivers must drive back to their pit stall and come to a complete stop. This will automatically apply the fast repair and give the driver a new car.

Over the airwaves

Last Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 from virtual Texas Motor Speedway earned a U.S. rating of 0.81 on FOX/FS1 (simulcast) and had an average viewer tune-in of 1.3 million.

This Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway will be available to our international affiliates in 150 countries and territories, reaching over 280 million households.

Below is a lineup of broadcasters:

Bristol Motor Speedway – eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
Arena Sport Czech Republic, Slovakia
Astro Malaysia
Automoto La Chaine France, Belgium, Turkey
Charlton – Sport 1 Isreal
Discovery India
ESPN LatAm Argentina, Colombia, Chile
FOX Sports Australia Australia
FOX Sports Mexico Mexico
Hong Kong PCCW Hong Kong
MatchTV Russia
MAX Sport Bulgaria
Motowizja Poland
Premier Sports/FreeSports UK
Sky NZ New Zealand
Sport TV Portugal
SuperSport Africa Sub-Saharan and West Africa
Telcel Mexico
Tencent China
TSN Canada
TV3 Spain Spain
Ziggo Sport Netherlands

Giving back

As it has since the onset of the worldwide COVID-19 Coronavirus, NASCAR remains a source of aid with The NASCAR Foundation as well as teams, drivers and associated companies donating to the worldwide relief efforts.

This week the Joey Logano Foundation announced a $1 million effort – in partnership with Elevation Outreach – to establish a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The money is targeted to address multiple needs in the community aiding educational access to medical supplies and food distribution in the Charlotte area and even beyond.

From the Wood Brothers Racing team to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson to this year’s Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin and 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, help is on the way.

The iconic Wood Brothers race team is raising money to purchase tablets for seniors – an effort to help keep the seniors in touch with family that may not be allowed to visit in their nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation partnered with local groups to provide meals to healthcare workers. And his Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing company is helping get face shields so desperately needed by healthcare workers.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson is raising money for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy Inc. which will get the funds to groups helping in the fight against COVID-19. The effort is taking $25 donations from fans with each donation entering that person for a chance to win Johnson’s autographed race-worn shoes. This effort goes through April 6.

And of course, Hamlin made big news with his eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational inaugural win at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks ago. He pledged to donate $100 for every lap he led, plus $5,000 because he won the race to an effort headed by The NASCAR Foundation and Feed the Children working in the South Florida area. In all, Hamlin contributed $6,400 to the effort and his sponsor Coca-Cola matched the money, as did the Kevin Harvick Foundation.

The NASCAR Research & Development Center, located outside Charlotte, has turned its high-tech capabilities into real life medical assistance – manufacturing face shields with its 3D printers and even a prototype human head that Wake Forest doctors and scientists are using to research better treatment supply options.

CORE Autosport, a team in IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, is similarly committed to helping out. Its team shop is manufacturing thousands of facemasks for distribution across the country. Technique Inc., a Michigan-based company that normally supplies chassis components to NASCAR teams has similarly turned its efforts during this pause in racing to making face shields for medical distribution and has ramped up production to 20,000 shields per day.

And Roush Fenway Racing has developed a special prototype "aerosol box" that helps provide a safe, workable barrier between a COVID-19 patient and the many medical personnel treating them in hospital rooms and transporting them on hospital floors.

Driver Stats

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