No Live Racing to Watch this Weekend? Think Again.
There may not any actual racing in the real world for the next two weeks (at least) but thanks to technology there will racing of the virtual kind featuring both stock cars and open wheel racers this Sunday, and perhaps beyond.
NASCAR was forced to postpone the races this weekend in Atlanta and next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The IndyCar series followed suit postponing its races until May after starting the weekend season opener in St. Pete. Formula 1 also canceled its season opening race in Australia along with its races at least until the first of May. With professional sports around the country and around the globe canceling events sports fans are left with few options.
For motorsports fans, at least the leagues behind virtual racing are stepping up.
Podium eSports announced Saturday that they will stage “The Replacements 100” on Twitch featuring NASCAR drivers as well as others in the industry including crew chiefs and spotters, along with musicians and even a retired NFL player. The race will be held on the virtual version of Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Scheduled to appear is retired driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. along with active drivers William Byron, Alex Bowman, Bubba Wallace, Justin Allgaier and Harrison Burton, among others. Country singer Tim Dugger will join industry members crew chief Chad Knaus, and spotters TJ Majors and Kevin Hamlin.
The world of eSports is gaining in popularity and in particular NASCAR which has sanctioned the eNASCAR Coca-Cola IRacing series. It features a 20-race season with winners and a season champion who share in a $300,000 purse.
The stars will be out on track tomorrow afternoon as we take you to @amsupdates for The Replacements 100 on @iRacing . Coverage starts at 3pm ET, with Green Flag at 3:30pm ET. You can watch the whole race LIVE at https://t.co/fSQZL9KiaG#Replacements100 pic.twitter.com/iWdj3o09j3
Sunday’s race will be live streamed on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/podiumesports with coverage starting at 3:00 p.m. ET and racing will start at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Wood Brothers Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto let slip on his social media channels Saturday that there would be another IRace next Sunday and that he would be racing, although he didn’t release any further details.
The racing on Sunday will start earlier in the U.S. as open wheel racers from Formula 1, Formula E and IndyCar will battle virtually in The Race’s All-Start Esports Battle.
Twenty professional drivers have been handpicked for the event including F1 driver Max Verstappen, plus Simon Pagenaud along with his fellow IndyCar competitors Felix Rosenqvist and Colton Herta. Also scheduled to race is former driver Juan Pablo Montoya and his son Sebastian. The field of 40 will be set with the final 20 drivers determined through a single lap qualifying session which took place on Saturday.
“Race fans are desperate for some action, but the recent glut of cancellations has really opened the opportunity for us to present a brilliant virtual event,” The-Race.com’s Head of Motorsport, Andrew van de Burgt said. “Unlike traditional races, all our competitors will not be in the same place – eliminating any concerns of transmitting the virus.
“This is the beauty of virtual racing – we’ll have 40 racers competing around the world from their own homes and then thousands of fans also watching without having to leave their couch.”
👍 More huge names for “The Race All-Star Esports Battle” – x [email protected] joins the star studded field along with @sebasmontoya58. Get ready for the father & son battle!
💻 Watch Sunday at: https://t.co/iyl940F3Mo
🇪🇺 14:00 | 🇬🇧 13:00 | 🇺🇸➡️9:00
🇺🇸⬅️ 6:00 | 🇦🇺 0:00 | 🇧🇷 10:00 pic.twitter.com/BN7LGHPOGL
Two group sprint races will be held on Sunday along with a last-chance qualifier. The top eight from each heat and the last-chance qualifier will make the final. A total of 24 racers will battle for $10,000 (US) in prize money.
The racing starts on The Race’s YouTube channel at 14:00 CET (9:00 a.m. ET in America).
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