Fox has announced it will start airing NASCAR’s virtual racing season, a series involving past and present drivers competing in the popular simulator iRacing. Dubbed the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, the broadcasts will take place on Sundays at 1 pm ET, essentially replacing a slate of live races NASCAR postponed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Fox Sports televised an invitational event this past weekend, a virtual race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway featuring familiar names like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch. And now, subsequent races will be aired on Fox, FS1, and through the Fox Sports app.
“Until we have cars back on track, the entire NASCAR community has aligned to provide our passionate fans with a unique, fun and competitive experience on race day,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s vice president of racing development, said in a press release.
At the moment, NASCAR’s real-life races have been postponed through May 3rd, so it hopes these virtual events can help fill the gap and keep fans engaged.
Live sports and esports in general have been affected by the current pandemic, and the need to avoid large gatherings to help limit the virus’ spread. Different leagues and organizations have tried to continue catering to fans through virtual events. Broadcasters covering the Washington Capitals and Wizards, for example, have opted to host simulated games and broadcast them to fans.
Elsewhere, several esports leagues, which can also draw thousands to live competitions at arenas and stadiums, have shifted to an online-only format that fans can watch through various services including Twitch and YouTube.
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