Speedway Digest Staff
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“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022. The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.” – John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation
Just days after breaking its own record for staging the most-watched eSports event in television history, NASCAR today announced a slate of new fantasy and prop betting offerings on the eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series, created courtesy of NASCAR’s official gaming partner, Penn Interactive.
In February, NASCAR and Penn Interactive, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PENN: NASDAQ) (“Penn National” or the “Company”), announced a new multi-year partnership that led to the creation of a brand new, free-to-play, mobile game named NASCAR Finish Line, which offered users the chance to win a $50,000 jackpot every race. Now, today, courtesy of Penn Interactive, the app is being relaunched to include eNASCAR contests – thus providing fans of the fast-growing eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series with even deeper ways to engage with the sport.
Alongside the launch of the game, Penn also announced that it would serve as the entitlement sponsor of the upcoming eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series event from virtual Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 3rd. The event will be entitled by the eNASCAR Finish Line app. It also will feature special integration from Barstool Sports’ personalities – with more details slated to come at a later date.
“During this time of uncertainty, eNASCAR has provided sports fans around the world with an exciting form of sports entertainment that is helping restore some normalcy to the weekend,” said Scott Warfield, NASCAR managing director of gaming. “Now, courtesy of our partners at Penn Interactive, fans can foster an even deeper connection with the new series and have even more incentive to tune into eNASCAR on FOX and FS1.”
The newly relaunched eNASCAR Finish Line mobile game is available now across iOS and Android phones and tablets and can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play store. Players can win a $5,000 jackpot by accurately predicting the top two finishers and the highest finishers across six different groupings of four drivers.
In addition to the gamification elements that fans will be able to enjoy alongside eNASCAR, more fans than ever before will be able to engage with the fast-growing eSport courtesy of NASCAR.com.
eNASCAR.com has been freshly updated to reflect the addition of the eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series – providing fans with a centralized hub for information surrounding the world’s most watched eSport series.
Fans can tune in this weekend to watch a full slate of eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series events from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, with the main event, the “Food City Showdown”, being televised live at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports App, while a separate event from virtual BMS, Saturday Night Thunder, will be live-streamed on eNASCAR.com on Saturday night.
Beginning April 6, NBC Sports will present Racing Week in America on NBCSN, providing racing fans with a chance to relive the most thrilling motorsports moments from the past two decades on NBC and NBCSN.
Featuring races from NASCAR, INDYCAR, IMSA, Supercross and other series, Racing Week in America will have a specific theme for each day, starting with “Mayhem Monday” on April 6. NBC Sports will air 12 hours of motorsports coverage (1 p.m.-3 a.m. ET) Monday-Thursday and seven hours (8 p.m.-3 a.m. ET) on Friday-Saturday. Sunday’s coverage airs 2-4 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. ET. Below is each day’s highlighted content throughout the week:
- Monday, April 6: “Mayhem Monday”
- Tuesday, April 7: “Twists and Turns Tuesday”
- Wednesday, April 8: “WednesDale”
- Thursday, April 9: “Best at the Brickyard”
- Friday, April 10: “Daytona Speed Day”
- Saturday, April 11: “Championship Saturday”
- Sunday, April 12: “Sunday Funday”
Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
In addition, NASCAR America will present the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge from Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin headline a group of 18 drivers competing at virtual versions of iconic race tracks across America. Click here for more information.
MONDAY, APRIL 6 – MAYHEM MONDAY
“Mayhem Monday” will feature some of the most intense battles across NASCAR, INDYCAR, Supercross, and American Flat Track, including two classics from Martinsville Speedway. The 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race saw Kyle Busch win in overtime and Chase Elliott confront Denny Hamlin for costing him the victory. Two years earlier at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon earned his final win after Matt Kenseth put his feud with Joey Logano to rest. “Mayhem Monday” also has the 2015 INDYCAR race from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, which produced a record 80 lead changes before Graham Rahal finally won out.
|NASCAR - Bristol Motor Speedway 2019||1 p.m.||NBCSN|
|INDYCAR - Auto Club Speedway 2015||3 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge - Rockingham||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Martinsville Speedway 2017||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Martinsville Speedway 2015||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Supercross - Anaheim #2 2020||12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|American Flat Track - Buffalo Chip TT 2019||2 a.m.||NBCSN|
TUESDAY, APRIL 7 – TWISTS AND TURNS TUESDAY
From city streets to massive dirt jumps, NBCSN will showcase the best twists and turns that motorsports have to offer starting Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. “Twists and Turns Tuesday” includes the NASCAR Cup Series’ thrilling first race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL; a return to INDYCAR Victory Lane for NBC Sports’ own James Hinchcliffe at iconic Long Beach; and the closest finish in Supercross history from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
|IMSA - Long Beach 2019||1 p.m.||NBCSN|
|INDYCAR - Long Beach 2017||3 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge - Lucas Oil Raceway||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL 2018||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Watkins Glen 2017||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Supercross - Arlington 2019||12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Monster Jam World Finals 2019||2 a.m.||NBCSN|
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8 – WEDNESDALE
NBC Sports presents a full day dedicated to motorsports icon and NBC Sports analyst Dale Earnhardt. Jr. From his emotional victory at Daytona in 2001 to making “Slide Job!” go viral in his broadcasting debut at Chicago in 2018, fans will see highlights from his memorable career, as well as an episode of his popular podcast/TV show, The Dale Jr. Download.
|NASCAR - Talladega Superspeedway 2019||1 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Chicagoland Speedway 2018||3 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge - Myrtle Beach||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Daytona International Speedway, July 2001||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Talladega Superspeedway 2017||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Martinsville Speedway 2005||12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|The Dale Jr. Download||2 a.m.||NBCSN|
THURSDAY, APRIL 9 – BEST AT THE BRICKYARD
Thursday takes a look back on NBC Sports’ exciting history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, highlighted by Simon Pagenaud’s win last May in NBC Sports’ first-ever Indianapolis 500 broadcast. Also included are emotional Brickyard 400 wins for Indiana native Tony Stewart and transplant Jeff Gordon, and Drive Like Andretti, NBC Sports’ captivating documentary on the life and times of racing icon Mario Andretti.
|INDYCAR - Grand Prix of Indianapolis 2019||1 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - 2005 Brickyard 400||3 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge Championship - Martinsville||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|INDYCAR - 103rd Indianapolis 500 (2019)||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Drive Like Andretti||11 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - 2004 Brickyard 400||12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|100th Indy 500 Special||2 a.m.||NBCSN|
FRIDAY, APRIL 10 – DAYTONA SPEED DAY
Whether they’re on two or four wheels, legends are made at Daytona International Speedway. On Friday, NBCSN focuses on ‘The World Center of Racing’ with exciting races from NASCAR and Supercross, plus highlights from this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona - better known as the Rolex 24.
|NASCAR - 2004 Daytona 500||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR - Daytona International Speedway, July 2001||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2020 Daytona Supercross||12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|IMSA - 2020 Rolex 24||2 a.m.||NBCSN|
SATURDAY, APRIL 11 – CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY
It’s what every driver works for. On Saturday, NBCSN gives fans some of the best championship moments, starting at 8 p.m. ET. The day’s schedule includes Jimmie Johnson claiming his record-tying 7th NASCAR Cup Series title in 2016; Kurt Busch’s stirring rally to become the first champion of the NASCAR Playoff era in 2004; and Scott Dixon’s triumph over Juan Pablo Montoya by the slimmest of margins to win the 2015 INDYCAR crown.
|NASCAR Cup Series Championship - Miami 2016||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|INDYCAR Championship - Sonoma 2015||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|NASCAR Cup Series Championship - Miami 2004||12 a.m.||NBCSN|
|American Flat Track - Meadowlands 2018||2 a.m.||NBCSN|
SUNDAY, APRIL 12 – SUNDAY FUNDAY
Above all else, racing is fun - and that’s what the final day of Racing Week in America is about. “Sunday Funday” has the incredible 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race from Talladega (won by Ryan Blaney over Ryan Newman by .007 of a second), as well as INDYCAR’s Texas thriller from 2016, where four drivers - Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud - went wheel-to-wheel in a pulse-pounding dash to the checkered flag.
|NASCAR - Talladega Superspeedway 2019||10:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|INDYCAR - Texas Motor Speedway 2016||12:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Racing Roots - Kyle Larson||2:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
NBC Sports PR
Who can stop Sage?
That's the big question Saturday, April 4 as the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, continues at 2:30 p.m. (ET) with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst at virtual Barber Motorsports Park.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Sage Karam won the pole and led 43 of 45 laps Saturday, March 28 in the No. 24 DRR Wix Filters Chevrolet to win the inaugural event of the virtual racing series, the American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International. Karam beat runner-up Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda) to the finish by 3.6174 seconds, with Will Power of Team Penske (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) placing third.
There will be an exciting new addition to the second round of the series Saturday: a live broadcast on NBCSN, including the NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.
Karam will lead a growing field of 29 drivers in the race Saturday, up from 25 drivers for the opener. New additions include 2018 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Robert Wickens (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet), five-time series champion Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole winner Ed Carpenter (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet) and Jack Harvey (No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda).
Click here: Entry List
The entry list represents 15 different teams or organizations competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and a field of drivers that has amassed 189 NTT INDYCAR SERIES victories and 14 series championships. Dixon will boost a lineup of series champions that includes Team Penske teammates Josef Newgarden (No. 1 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet), Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet), along with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet) and Tony Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet) of AJ Foyt Racing.
Other NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winners entered in the race Saturday include Graham Rahal (No. 15 One Cure Honda), Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda), James Hinchcliffe (No. 29 Genesys Honda) and Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Honda).
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Racing Chevrolet) also will continue his exploration of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES by racing in Round 2. He placed 16th after starting 19th last Saturday in his virtual INDYCAR debut at Watkins Glen, running at the finish.
The field will race for 45 laps over a virtual version of the rolling, challenging 2.38-mile road course at Barber, located in Birmingham, Alabama. The circuit was scheduled to host the second event of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season Sunday, April 5, but the event weekend was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All drivers will work with an additional competitive element Saturday, a planned competition caution period that will bunch the field after the round of pit stops is completed, sometime between Laps 28 and 31, and will consist of three laps. A single-file restart will follow this caution period.
The event, which will last approximately 60 minutes, will be televised live on NBCSN. Additional viewing options are still to be confirmed.
The starting lineup will be set through a 10-minute qualifying session prior to the event. In the interest of fairness, iRacing will give all participants the same car setups.
Saturday's race at a virtual version of Barber Motorsports Park, located in Birmingham, Alabama, is the second of six races to take place every Saturday through May 2. Future venues include a "Driver's Choice" track April 11, a "Random Draw" track April 18, Circuit of the Americas on April 25 and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track May 2. The series opened March 28 at Watkins Glen International.
The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.
After a disappointing finish in the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday, Matt DiBenedetto now turns his attention to the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, where he’ll pilot the No. 21 REESE/Draw-Tite Mustang in the third round of the NASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series.
At Texas, DiBenedetto was running 11th and poised to move up when he bounced off the wall and damaged his car on a long green-flag run late in the race.
Still he managed to salvage a 15th-place finish, one spot better than where he qualified.
“I was saving my right-front tire, driving smart and smacked the wall all by myself,”
DiBenedetto said. “I was faster than a big group ahead of me and had a top-five car, but I messed it up.”
Now he’s focused on Bristol and preparing himself to race the No. 21 adorned in the blue and white REESE and Draw-Tite colors for the first time, on the virtual version of the track where he finished second in last year’s night race after leading 93 laps late in the race.
“Bristol is my best track in real life,” DiBenedetto said. “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.”
He said that in addition to working out to keep himself in shape for his eventual return to traditional racing, he’ll spend hours this week in front of his computer preparing for Sunday’s virtual run on the high-banked, half-mile asphalt track.
“I’ll definitely put a lot of practice into it,” he said.
Eddie Wood said he and his family team are proud to have their virtual Mustang carry the universally known REESE and Draw-Tite brands, which have been providing heavy-duty and custom hitches and towing equipment since their inceptions in 1952 and 1946.
“As NASCAR’s oldest continuously operating race team, it always feels special to be associated with companies that have similar histories to ours,” he said.
The Bristol race is set to get the green flag on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, with TV coverage on FOX, FOX Sports 1 and the FOX Sports app.
NASCAR America presents NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge beginning Monday, April 6 on NBCSN
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin headline a group of 18 drivers that will compete at virtual versions of iconic and short tracks across America next week on NBCSN, as NASCAR America presents the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge beginning Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m. ET.
From Monday-Wednesday, six different drivers will compete in two timed races in Cup Series cars at an iconic track at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The top two finishers from each night will advance to the championship race at the virtual Martinsville Speedway on Thursday night on NBCSN.
- Monday – Rockingham Speedway
- Tuesday – Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
- Wednesday – Myrtle Beach Speedway
- Thursday – Martinsville Speedway (Championship Race)
The following drivers will compete in the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge:
- Monday at Rockingham Speedway – Kyle Busch, William Byron, Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace
- Tuesday at Lucas Oil Raceway – Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Harrison Burton, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson
- Wednesday at Myrtle Beach Speedway – Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Timmy Hill, Ryan Preece and Myatt Snider
“We’re proud to continue our successful collaboration with iRacing and NASCAR, which began last year, to produce the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge,” said Jeff Behnke, vice president, production, NASCAR on NBC and NBCSN. “Thanks to all the drivers from the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series for joining in what should be four consecutive nights of entertainment and fun for all the great race fans and viewers.”
“Of all of the events we’ve been putting together for real-world pros, the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge should be one of the most fun,” said Steve Myers, iRacing executive producer. “So many of the top drivers in NASCAR have honed their skills on both local short tracks and iRacing, and combining the two for a virtual week-long showdown should deliver plenty of excitement. We can’t wait to see who takes the checkered flag and bragging rights!"
This marks the latest collaboration between NBC Sports and iRacing, which began in 2019 when NBC Sports telecast the first-ever eNASCAR live event on television. NBC Sports and iRacing teamed up to present the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Championship in a two-hour event live on NBCSN last October. Earlier this year, it was announced that six races of the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs will air live on NBCSN later this fall.
NBC Sports NASCAR commentators Rick Allen and Steve Letarte will call the action, including interviews with drivers during the races. Jeff Burton and Marty Snider will host the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge via Zoom.