Everything you need to know about iRacing ahead of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series

No sports have been immune to the impact of coronavirus, including NASCAR.

While the season was just beginning, NASCAR announced it was postponing events through May 3, if not longer.

We know the time away from the track has been tough, but we have something special in store!

The NASCAR community partnered with iRacing to create a unique event for drivers and fans during this difficult time on race day.

Drum roll please … the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series – an exhibition esports series with the best and brightest NASCAR stars – kicks off on Sunday at 1:30 ET on the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway.

And we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

Broadcast schedule

The first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event brought to you by FOX Sports, NASCAR and iRacing will be available to watch on FS1 and the FOX Sports app on Sunday, March 22, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

What it is

Ready…set…go!

It’s a 100-lap simulation-style esports race on a virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway featuring competitors from the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR Cup Series and a few NASCAR dignitaries.

The race will be a substitute for the actual race at Homestead on Sunday that was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Who is competing

You’ll recognize some familiar names on the lineup.

We’ve got Hall of Fame driver Bobby Labonte, two-time and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano, 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, 2008 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Clint Bowyer, 2017 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champion Christopher Bell, 2016 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott and many more.

Earnhardt Jr., Hamlin and William Byron are even some Cup Series drivers who have dabbled in racing online.

The race will feature a full 35-car lineup, which will be announced on Sunday.

It’s a real race

They’re not messing around and neither are we.

You can follow all the action with our FOX NASCAR broadcasters Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds as they call the race. Clint Bowyer will even serve as an “in-race” analyst driving from a simulator hooked up to the iRacing platform from the FOX Charlotte studio.

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Getting ready for Sunday. 1:30p ET on FS1.

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How it’s possible

This isn’t your traditional gaming set-up with a controller. The drivers will be using “rigs” from their homes or offices with steering wheels, shifters, pedals and computer screens.

The set-up is a reflection of an actual car, and the screen shows you the track.

This is serious business.

How the drivers are feeling

It’s no surprise many are champing at the bit to get back out there, and we’re just about as excited to watch them battle it out on the track.

But for some, it’s full of unknowns – many drivers haven’t competed or ever used a driving simulation game before. Nonetheless, they are ready to fire up those engines!

For more visit our very own NASCAR insider Bob Pockrass’ story on the drivers’ emotions heading into race day.

It’s safe

NASCAR and FOX are following strict CDC guidelines to maintain a safe work environment and ensure the well-being of everyone involved in the event.

It’s a unique and special way to watch and celebrate the sport we love, while remaining compliant and staying healthy.

The purse

While there isn’t necessarily a prize to be won, bragging rights are always worth it.

And an extra sponsor or a new look might be just what the doctor ordered.

Betting and Odds

Vegas might be shut down, but you can still get your betting fix.

Download the FOXSports Super 6 app, and pick the drivers you think will dominate the virtual track.

The preview

There was a test drive of an iRace last week, which gave an inside look at what the series could look like.

“The Replacements-100,” a one-time race, featured Bubba Wallace Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman and Ryan Blaney‘s spotter Josh Williams, who came out victorious.

The broadcast on Twitch peaked with 27,000 viewers following the action.

Going forward

While subject to change, NASCAR hopes to run a weekly virtual race until the season resumes.

With a total of seven Cup Series races postponed – and perhaps more to come – let the iRacing begin.