In an unprecedented abeyance of sports in the United States amid efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak across the country, iRacing is all the rage.
Providing a subtle, relative return to normalcy, watching virtual racing has become must-see TV in a world craving for televised, live sports where the result isn’t known.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car and Late Model series are the latest to benefit, as Fox Sports announced on Tuesday that the two series would be premiering with their iRacing television debuts on Wednesday night.
World of Outlaws iRacing to be televised live Wednesday
Drivers from each series will compete on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday as part of a start to a new, weekly commitment to run iRacing events on TV during the time slot each week.
“The iRacing simulation platform is undeniably the closest thing to real racing we can deliver to our viewers during this challenging time,” FOX Sports Executive Producer, EVP/Head of Production & Operations Brad Zager said in a press release. “While the racing may be virtual, the competition and fun are absolutely real, and we’ll use Wednesday nights to explore a variety of virtual racing.”
The rise in popularity comes from a shot that FOX took with NASCAR, televising a live race featuring almost all of the Cup Series drivers in place of the first postponed race of the season, a week and a half ago.
The race drew almost 1 million viewers and became the most-watched eSport event to be televised live, ever. Sunday’s NASCAR iRacing event even topped those numbers.
The World of Outlaws hopes to do the same on Wednesday.
Johnny Gibson, voice of the World of Outlaws, will join NASCAR’s Adam Alexander and cup series greats Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer, to call the action live.
“Americans are resilient, dirt track fans more than most, but they are also a proud group,” Chief Marketing Officer for the World of Outlaws, Ben Geisler, said in the release. “I can’t wait to hear them talking about the sport they love this week, while FOX Sports places it on arguably the biggest stage in sports right now. Our drivers are a determined bunch, they have jumped through hoops to find sim gear and they are putting in 10-hour marathon practice sessions to get up to speed.They will put on a great show.”
The races are scheduled to take over the 8:00 p.m. hour on Fox Sports 1, starting with a 35-lap sprint car race and concluding with a 50-lap late model showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Series regulars are expected to compete in their respective events along with NASCAR’s Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell as well as NHRA’s Cruz Pedragon and Ron Capps.
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