NASCAR got creative when it came to offering fans something to watch after it was forced to suspend racing last month, similar to other pro sports, in an effort to keep fans and athletes safe from coronavirus. Now you can see your favorite pro drivers compete in eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events being aired on FOX Sports. The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series features drivers from Cup, Xfinity, and Trucks to keep both drivers and fans in the “game”. But, not everyone is a fan. Most notably, NASCAR’s No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro driver Bubba Wallace who ‘rage quit’ after this weekend’s virtual race didn’t go his way.
What Exactly Is iRacing?
The iRacing website describes the activity this way:
“iRacing is the ultimate global racing portal. Whether you want to experience a NASCAR Cup car, a World of Outlaws Sprint car, an open-wheel IndyCar, an Australian Supercar, an IMSA Prototype or Touring Car, or the ultimate: an FIA Grand Prix car, iRacing’s online racing simulations offer them all.All you need is a computer equipped with one or more USB ports, and a digital wheel/pedal, or gamepad backed by a high-speed internet connection. iRacing does the work for you by organizing and managing more than 50 official series, or you can choose to race in more than 400 private leagues or launch your own hosted events.”
How cool is that?!
NASCAR’s first and foremost priority right now is the safety of its drivers, crews, and fans. So they came up with a cool modern alternative – virtual events!
“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,” explained NASCAR vice president of racing development Ben Kennedy.”Our long-time partners at iRacing offer an incredible product, and we are excited to see how many of our best drivers will stack up in the virtual domain of competitive racing.”
iRacing Gains Popularity
This virtual solution is becoming very popular in the current environment for a number of reasons, according to Sporting News .
The best indicator is probably the fact that even pro drivers applaud the sophisticated racing simulation provided on iRacing.com .
“First of all, it is extremely realistic,” current NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer said this week after competing in the first eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event. “You’re using the same mechanics, the same forces, the same movements as you use in real life to make your car go fast; and that is your hand-eye coordination, your feet.”
“You drive these things so much with the pedals, with the gas, the brake, the steering input,” Bowyer added. “All of those inputs in your mind are the exact same thing, and the same tools we use to put your car to the front of the field on any given Sunday.”
With regular NASCAR races shut down, No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing is having a blast with iRacing.
“iRacing has been perfected,” Bowyer continued. “The production is good. The camera angles are good. I mean, they have their own series, there are serious races each and every week, just like ours does. They have hell of a races. It’s awesome to watch some of these races. If you think we’re good? We’re terrible. You ought to watch some of these iRacing guys that do this each and every week.”
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) March 27, 2020 
eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series
The first eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series exhibition race took place on Sunday, March 22nd. Nearly nearly a million viewers tuned in, making it the highest rated e-sports TV program in history.
Two legendary NASCAR drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte, competed in the first eNASCAR iRacing race. And some expect even more to join upcoming virtual races.
“We’re overwhelmed by the positive feedback and encouragement sent by industry stakeholders, drivers, partners, media and most importantly, our fans,’’ said NASCAR senior vice president and chief digital officer Tim Clark. “We are committed to running these eNASCAR iRacing events as long as necessary.”
Bubba Wallace ‘Rage-Quits’
In the most recent race, the Food City Showdown on April 5th, Bubba Wallace had the worst day of anyone on the track.
In fact, not only did the Richard Petty Motorsports driver wreck during the 11th lap of the 150-lap race, he was so annoyed by it that he wound up “rage-quitting” and bowed out of the race.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) April 5, 2020 
“Y’all have a good one. That’s it. This is why I don’t take this [expletive] serious,” said Wallace on his Twitch stream right after the wreck. “Peace out!”
He then disconnected from the stream.
Wallace later took to social media to mock the backlash he received for quitting. But that move backfired on him when he lost his sponsorship deal with Blue Emu.
Apparently, the NASCAR sponsor did not take kindly to Wallace’s flippant attitude towards the virtual event.
Bahaha I’m dying at my mentions right now…
I ruined so many peoples day by quiting..a video game..
Bahaha. A video game. Damn quarantine life is rough😂😂😂
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) April 5, 2020 
GTK where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We’re interested in drivers, not quitters.
— Blue-Emu (@BlueEmu1) April 5, 2020 
— Blue-Emu (@BlueEmu1) April 5, 2020 
It looks like the world of iRacing has just as much drama as regular NASCAR races, if not more!