Joshua Abbe & Dale Money | March 14th, 2020
Could iRacing soon become a possible replacement for real-life NASCAR, while it’s on hiatus? Well, we had an alternative idea! We honestly thought about if there is no racing on the track.
What started out as an inquisitive tweet from Joshua, has gained plenty of traction among many of the Sport’s most recognizable drivers and iRacing personalities. Including names such as Kyle Larson, William Byron, Noah Gragson, and Dale_Earnhardt_Jr. Also, well-known iRacer enthusiast and former Penske driver Parker Kligerman would show his interest in the potential venture.
100% in— Parker Kligerman (@pkligerman) March 12, 2020
In the tweet, it posed the question if NASCAR were to suspend their racing operations for a serious length of time, would running an iRacing event involving 40 of the best NASCAR drivers and have them battle it out, be something feasible.
Hear me out, if @NASCAR has to postpone or suspend any events, let's just replace it with an @iRacing event?? Take the 40 drivers, with their CC and Spotters, put them in a room and have @NASCARONFOX and/or @NASCARonNBC televise the event(depending how long it may go) and have— Joshua Abbe (@jabbe05) March 12, 2020
It was an idea that would never have been considered just a few weeks ago. However, because of the Coronavirus, almost every sports league has been shut down for the foreseeable future. While the NCAA has canceled March Madness, the NBA, NHL, MLS, and others have suspended their seasons for at least 30 days, if not longer.
It was almost inevitable that the last domino would fall, and by Friday morning it was announced that NASCAR would be postponing all of the racing events at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. On top of that, next weekend at Homestead, the Dixie Vodka 400 was also postponed. While we all understand, the decision was necessary, it still leaves a void in our competitive drive to be missing out on cheering for our favorite driver on a Sunday afternoon with the season so young still.
In 2009, iRacing would announce a five-year deal with NASCAR to run an authorized racing series, just five years after the company was created. By 2019 the Coca Cola eNASCAR iRacing series would debut on NBCSN. The television program would turn out to be a huge success for the iRacing brand, as it was announced the prize payout for the 2020 champion will be the highest in the series history.
Remember when the eNASCAR Coca-Cola series raced their form of the Daytona 500 on February 11th earlier this year? We were tuned in along with the great number of other people that watched a great race and thought why not NASCAR Cup’s actual drivers have done it as well. That way we have some sort of actual racing to watch and it’s our drivers in the driver’s seats. Esports is big and continues to grow with more and more iRacing leagues from all formats on display from the dirt track, road course, open-wheel, and oval racing. So why not put Sunday’s best drivers on the best racing simulation to date?
There could be some sponsorship opportunities and maybe some money on the line for a charity who knows? It’s just an idea to get us through this dire time and a distraction from what is happening now like the distraction any other weekend while watching the races.
With the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series itself continuing to grow, we don’t want to leave them out by getting them involved and put their skills to the test against actual cup guys at a fan-voted track. That way fans can be involved. We don’t have to have long races or even a big number of events, just something for race fans to watch while we don’t have physical cars on track.
If some Cup drivers don’t have a setup nor the time to compete, there should be some Infinity or Gander Outdoors Trucks Series guys that would like to fill those spots too! Just imagine though, having some racing on a national television channel, listening to their communications, having fun and everyone could be their home from drivers, crew chiefs, spotters, to even the commentary for their safety. There is ample opportunity here.
Everything was in limbo when Joshua put out that tweet and it was just an alternative idea. However, with the support from Earnhardt Jr., Lason, Kligerman, and others, maybe we can have races on Sunday after all. Now we know it’s not for everyone and that’s fine. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to, but you never know? If you got the chance to watch your favorite driver be racing something in simulation which is very close to reality, you just might like! Here’s to hoping something could have the potential to happen, but in the long run, we look to get back to the track soon. Be safe everyone!
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