As you probably know, the NASCAR season has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic through May 3rd. NASCAR had hoped to get back to racing in time for the first ever night race at Martinsville on May 9th, but that is in question because the state of Virginia is currently under a stay at home order until June 10th. NASCAR issued a statement saying “NASCAR is aware of the stay-at-home order issued for Virginia. We will continue discussions with public health officials and medical experts as we assess rescheduling options.” So we will see what happens.
In the meantime, the folks at NASCAR have teamed up with iRacing to give us a race fans a solution. Instead of going to the actual tracks, a crop of NASCAR drivers and top iRacers have been racing the same schedule, but doing it virtually via iRacing rigs set up at their homes. The likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte have come out of retirement to race again. Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Larry McReynolds have been called upon to call the races as if the races are real. Fox or Fox Sports (depending on the week/race) and the Fox Sports app have been broadcasting the iRaces live. There are even top stars singing the anthem and doing pre-race concerts. And the result? Pretty great! Look, it's not "real" NASCAR racing, but the graphics are tremendous and it's REALLY fun to watch! It is a fantastic "replacement" until we can get back to the track and actual racing.
William Byron, who actually came up through iRacing, won yesterday's race at Bristol in a car that he designed...inspired by the Panthers? Maybe! He chats about it in our conversation below. In fact, William was nice enough to call in and chat about the race, the car, iRacing in general, how he's been passing time during the pandemic, and he even talked about how he'll be racing a virtual car at Richmond that a fan will design! If you're looking for a way to pass the time and want to get in the contest, click this link!
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images. This image was computer generated in-game.