When all the NASCAR racing events are postponed, they have still found a way to fulfill the driver’s appetite to race through iRacing. However, as successful as they may be, iRacing cannot compete with real racing, says NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer. He explained on a teleconference:
Racers are just different, man. Racers have always been. To stand the test of time, I can say this about a racer: They’ve always somehow someway been at the race track. When all odds are against them, racers figure it out.
However, it is fair to say that eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series will keep the NASCAR fans entertained during this period of lack of racing events.
Bowyer reflected on this fulfilling of the gap that the virtual racing has been providing.
We’re all in this together. We’re all quarantined. It’s almost as if the iRacing thing had been built and designed in the past for this very moment. I think it’s a perfect bridge to gap this situation we’re all in.
It’s entertainment. Is it real? No, it’s not. It’s virtual, but it’s what we have. And I’m telling you right now, it provided entertainment that literally had you jumping up and down and on the edge of your seat at the end of that race.
The event has been a huge success. Aired by FOX Sports, the virtual race was seen by 903,000 viewers on FS1, according to Nielsen Media Research. FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports App will air the Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 at virtual Texas.
Bowyer explained that given the number of viewership, races are taking the event seriously and he himself would like to win the competition. He said:
Hell yes, it’s serious. This is a big deal. Did you see the viewership? A million views. I want to win this thing big time for myself, for my partners, for everybody. You want to be the man in front of a million viewership. …
Everybody is practicing big time. If you question that, all you got to do is get in iRacing and look: Each and every evening or during the day – doesn’t matter what time of day it is – you get on there, log on and there will be people on Texas (Motor Speedway) racing and practicing for this weekend. So, it would be an understatement to think that it’s not serious.