DraftKings came through in the clutch and finally added paid iRacing contests. It was a little less than a month ago that we were getting into the swing of things for NASCAR DFS. Then COVID-19 stepped in and forced the season to be put on hold, yet here we are already into the third week of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.
The insane popularity for the event only continues to grow as the weeks roll by. Support for the first installment of the invitational garnered over 900,000 viewers on FS1. This would, in fact, smash the previous record for a live eSports event, set back in 2016 when the CW Network’s broadcast of a Mortal Kombat tournament, climbed to as far as 770,000 viewers.
Originally, the Nascar Cup Series was scheduled to be at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. There will still be racing but it will be virtually from each driver’s own iRacing set up. With a lot of drivers just now getting into iRacing, I expect a lot of wrecks and aggressive driving in this race.
Over a million people would go onto to watch last week’s installment of the Pro Invitational, from virtual Texas Motor Speedway. Current NASCAR driver and iRacer Timmy Hill would go onto to win the event in overtime, amid a hotly contested last lap battle with fellow NASCAR racer Ryan Preece.
NASCAR has made the announcement, they are intending to return to real racing as early as May 3rd. With at least four more events still left to run in the Pro Invitational, the question becomes how much further can this series of virtual racing continue to rise in popularity?
So without much further ado, let’s delve into the betting options for this upcoming race at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. Pricing is based on Draft Kings.
William Byron – $10,500
Byron seemed to be in a good spot last Sunday afternoon, holding down the race lead with four laps left. However, a fast charging Hill would manage to get close enough to nudge the No. 24 aside, pushing the No. 66 to the front of the pack. That would be all she wrote for Byron, as he would end up finishing in seventh place. Regardless of the outcome, Byron ran a fantastic race last weekend, having dominated in laps led with 80 of the 100 ran. Consider that in Byron’s last ten Bristol iRace events, five of those have been for victories.
Timmy Hill – $10,700
Prior to Hill’s photo finish victory this past Sunday, he would kick off the debut of the Pro Invitational with a third-place result at virtual Homestead-Miami. Those two very impressive finishes are certainly no fluke when you consider Hill had already racked up 674 victories in iRacing. I have every belief Hill will be challenging for another win at Bristol. However, with this race being on a short track, it’ll be in his best interest to avoid Byron as much as possible.
High Salary Drivers
Garrett Smithley – $10,200
Smithley has a background in iRacing. He comes in with finishes of third and fifth the last two weeks. He is the third most expensive driver and has the third-highest odds to win. In NASCAR, he runs for a small team in Rick Ware Racing. That puts him at a disadvantage but with his experience with iRacing and the cars being equal, he now has the advantage. This is an excellent opportunity for him to get his name out there. Expect Smithley to put on a great show.
Ryan Preece – $10,000
Preece finished second to Timmy Hill last week at Texas. He comes in as the fourth most expensive driver this week. He also has the fifth-highest odds to win. Preece who drives for JTG Daughtery ran two races last year at Bristol. His average finish was 21.5 in those two races. Look for him to use his iRacing experience and run in the top ten this week.
Bobby Labonte – $7,200
The NASCAR Cup Series started its 2020 schedule a little over one month ago. A couple of weeks before that Labonte was giving his hall of fame induction speech. Well, things change and for the third week in a row, he will be driving for team owner Joe Gibbs whom he won his championship with back in 2000. Labonte has had success in his last two races finishing 12th and 18th. He is a great cheap driver this week and will look to improve in his third iRacing start.
Matt Dibenedetto – $8,500
Dibenedetto has run very well over the last two weeks. Especially for a guy who raced in his underwear last week. With finishes of 11th and 15th, he comes in averaging 34 fantasy points. He also has a good track record at Bristol even in equipment that wasn’t up to par with the top teams in NASCAR. He finished second back in August of 2019. Look for him to have his best run yet in this week’s race at Bristol.
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