Round three of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series takes place today with competitors racing at a virtual BristolMotor Speedway.
Here is the information on today’s virtual race:
(All times are Eastern)
DIGNITARIES: Co-grand marshals are Fox Sports analyst and Wrestlemania host Rob Gronkowski and WWE Superstar Mojo Rawley. Singer/actress Rita Wilson will perform the National Anthem. Darrell and Stevie Waltrip will give the invocation.
FORMAT: Practice begins at noon. Qualifying begins at 1:10 p.m. to set the lineups for both heat races. First heat is scheduled to begin at 1:13 p.m. Second heat is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. All drivers will transfer to the feature race. Heat race results will set the lineup for the feature race.
FEATURE RACE: Scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
DISTANCE: The Food City Showdown is 150 laps (79.95 miles) around the virtual .533-mile oval.
TV/RADIO: FOX and FS1 will televise the virtual race. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. The race also can be seen on the Fox Sports App.
RULES: Since it is an exhibition race, drivers will get two full resets in their heat race and the feature race to repair damage. No cautions in the heat races. The cars have fixed setups.
CUP DRIVERS SCHEDULED TO COMPETE: Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Ty Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Matt DiBenedetto, Joey Logano, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Michael McDowell, Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Garrett Smithley, Timmy Hill, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and Daniel Suarez.
WHAT DRIVERS ARE SAYING:
Kyle Busch: “I’ve learned a little bit about (iRacing) but, overall, I felt like we were pretty good at Homestead coming from the back and picking off a few guys and passing some cars. Then the crashes would happen and I would never be able to slow up or check up quick enough. These cars online here, they bounce off the wall way faster than they do in real life, so trying to judge how they ricochet and what is going to happen is hard to do. Last week at Texas, we got caught up in that first wreck. I think being able to qualify up front and get some track position – that would be nice to start with and seems important. I’m sure it’s even more important at a place like Bristol, so we’ll see if we can get a good finish this weekend with our M&M’S Messages Camry.”
Clint Bowyer: “There are certain guys that when you get on the sim in any given week, whether it’s the day or the evening, that you look for because you know that they’ve got experience and track time and seat time in the sim and on iRacing. Parker Kligerman, Garrett Smithley, Timmy Hill, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. – these are all guys that have a ton of experience. When they get on the racetrack, trust me, you need to get out there with them and learn as much as you can, follow them and everything else. You’ll see my Smithfield Ford Mustang behind them so I can figure out how to eventually get in front of them.”
Matt DiBenedetto: “Bristol is my best track in real life. But iRacing has a different feel to it. It takes a lot of practice to get more comfortable with it and to have the precision you need.”
Austin Dillon: “I’m really looking forward to racing at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend because the real Bristol Motor Speedway is always a fun time for racers. It’s going to be interesting racing in the virtual race. I think it’s going to be a wreck-fest because it’s really hard to race on the track virtually. We’ve all been practicing a lot but it will be interesting to see what happens. … I’m really excited to compete in this race for Dow and plan to have some fun with it.”
Erik Jones: “Bristol should be good. It’s one of my favorite tracks in real life that we get to go to each year. It’s probably going to be a lot different than the last two weeks. It’ll be interesting to see where the preferred grove is with it being split between the top and the bottom in real life racing, so not sure what it’s going to be like in iRacing. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully we can run a little better than last week. I have more time this week to practice before the race now that I’m getting a little settled in to my house. Hopefully I can get on there, get some laps down and can go up front and contend for the win this week.”
Michael McDowell: “I think that this weekend’s Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway is going to require a lot of concentration and stamina. Some people might think that just because this is a virtual race, that it will be relatively easy to compete in. However, the fact of the matter is that it still takes a lot of focus to be able to push your car to its limits, while trying your best not to crash with 35 other cars all around you. Thankfully, to help me stay alert and on my game, I have CELSIUS Fitness Drinks coming on board this weekend. Not only will they be a primary sponsor of my virtual No. 34 Ford Mustang, but they have also been my go-to fitness drink for a long time. I drink a CELSIUS before every workout and on every race morning. Their drinks taste great and provide me with the energy that I need to perform any task.”
John Hunter Nemechek: “Bristol is already such a challenging track for us in person and it will be interesting to see what it’s like in a virtual race. The preferred line at Bristol tends to move around as the race goes on, and as we’ve seen over the last two weeks of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, anything can happen. That said, I’m feeling pretty good about our No. 38 Ford Mustang. I’m also really glad we are able to have our partners at YANMAR America with us on the car this weekend. I was just gutted for them after not being able to race at Atlanta. They’re such a great group of people and I’m thankful for their outpouring of support for Front Row Motorsports since last year. I’m excited that we get to have them ‘along for the ride’ this weekend and look forward to the day when we can see the No. 38 YANMAR Ford Mustang on track in person, too.”
Tyler Reddick: “So far, I’ve noticed that if you can run right next to the wall the track is really fast. … It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday. I love the track and have had a lot of success there in the past so I’m looking forward to the race.”