• Event: Toyota Owners 150 (Round 4)
• Series: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
• Time/Date: 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 29
• Location: Virtual Richmond Raceway (.75-mile oval)
• Distance: 150 laps (112.5 miles)
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
• Trivia Question: What are the three most-watched esports events on TV in United States history? Answer: The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.
The March 29 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.
• But Wait, There’s More!: The last eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race April 5 at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway averaged 1.179 million viewers across FOX and FS1, making it the second most-watched sports telecast of the weekend and the No. 1 sport among adults age 18-49.
• 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 Toyota Camry:
“Is iRacing still fun or is it starting to get more serious?
“It’s definitely getting more serious because I’m working to try and get better with our M&M’S Camry. I struggled in qualifying the first few races and was able to work my way back up front each time, so qualifying has been a struggle point for me so far. I got back into the top-10 each race, but I’ve been caught up in a wreck each time that has not allowed me to finish very well. It’s still fun, but there are those moments of getting crashed that I know I’ve put in a lot of work trying to get better and I just want to finish well and it can be frustrating still.”
What are you doing to improve at iRacing?
“The other sim racers we have at Joe Gibbs Racing, Graham Bolin and Malik Ray in the weekly sim league, really helped me out at the beginning. It’s cool to watch them and pay attention to what they are doing and how they drive the cars. The cars are driven way different in the sim world than they are in real life. You can take advantage of situations in iRacing that you wouldn’t do in real life because there are no repercussions, no torn up equipment. So you are trying to figure that out and engulf yourself in the sim and figure out how to be faster and more competitive.”
Busch Toyota Owners 150 Notes:
• This will be Busch’s fourth-ever iRacing start in a virtual NASCAR Cup Series race.
• Busch’s scheme for Sunday features retailer Wawa on the rear TV panel of his familiar yellow No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry.
• William Hartman, Busch’s engineer on his regular No. 18 Toyota Camry Cup Series car, 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 third consecutive race this weekend from his home in Pennsylvania.
• In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing on the .75-mile Richmond short track, Busch is the winningest active driver with has six wins to go along with 18 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s in 29 starts.
— True Speed Communications —