Stewart-Haas eSports Driver Brandyn Gritton Gunning for Second Straight eNASCAR Heat Pro League Championship

Brandyn Gritton helped deliver the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship to Stewart-Haas eSports in 2019, and he’s aiming to deliver a second title to the team in 2020.

The eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship race is at 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, and Gritton is one of the eight drivers eligible to take the trophy. The 24-year-old sim racer from Kokomo, Indiana, has already enjoyed a championship-caliber season with 166 laps led and two victories – June 25 at virtual Atlanta Motor Speedway and July 1 at virtual Eldora Speedway. In the 13 races run this year, Gritton has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.

“I knew it was going to take a lot of work to get back to the championship race, and being able to make it and show strength all year provided the confirmation that I needed – to know I belong,” said Gritton, whose day job is a yard driver for Saddle Creek Logistics Services. “The toughest challenge I’ve had this year is just having the target on my back of being the defending champion. I feel like each and every driver had the goal of beating me at the beginning of the year, which led to a lot of tense moments on the track. Last year, I felt like we were more of the underdog. This year, we’re the team that everyone wants to topple.”

The eNASCAR Heat Pro League races on NASCAR Heat 5, the latest game in the NASCAR Heat franchise. It puts competitors in virtual machines from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series on virtual tracks that emulate the real-world versions each series visits. Gritton’s win at Atlanta came in an Xfinity Series Ford Mustang, and his victory at Eldora came in a Truck Series Ford F-150.

“Winning the championship this year would mean so much more,” Gritton said. “Last year, the championship was awarded to the best team, but this year it’s all about the driver. I want to back up what we did last year.”

The championship finale consists of three races at three different tracks, all in NASCAR Cup Series cars. Gritton will race the No. 14 Smithfield Ford Mustang.

The first race will be 35 laps at Michigan International Speedway, with only the top-six championship drivers advancing. The second race will be 45 laps at Phoenix Raceway, where the championship contenders are whittled down to four. The final race will be 80 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the highest-finishing Championship 4 driver taking the title. Starting lineups will be determined by eNASCAR Heat Pro League officials. All competitors in the championship will compete on ASUS Gaming PCs and monitors, marking the first time Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) competitors will perform on the same platform.

“The ASUS Gaming platform is different, but I like it,” said Gritton, who has been a PS4 stalwart throughout his eNASCAR Heat Pro League career. “Not only does it allow us to compete with the Xbox drivers, but it puts everyone on a completely level playing field. We’re all learning together and no driver has any type of advantage.”

Twenty-eight drivers will participate in the championship race, even though only eight are eligible for the series title.

“This is the first time we’ll have all 28 drivers on the track at the same time and it’s going to be chaotic, especially with how short the races are,” Gritton said. “The most important goal will be surviving. If I stay out of trouble and focus on advancing, Bristol is a place where I know I can win.”

Joining Gritton in the season-ending event is his Stewart-Haas eSports teammate Matthew Selby, but he is ineligible for the championship.

“It’s been really helpful to have such a close friend in Matthew Selby as my teammate,” Gritton said. “We may have different driving styles and comfort levels, but we both know what it takes to make fast setups. That has allowed us to step our game up, even from the high of last year.”

The championship race can be viewed on the following channels:
NASCARHeat.com/Live
Facebook.com/NASCARHeat
Twitch.TV/704NASCARHeat
eNASCAR.com/Live

About Stewart-Haas eSports:

NASCAR is the ultimate test of driver acumen and mechanical know-how, where teams scrutinize every detail in a never-ending quest for speed. Stewart-Haas Racing has thrived in this environment, winning races and championships to firmly establish its presence in NASCAR. Stewart-Haas eSports emulates these efforts in the virtual world, where sim technology provides a visceral experience that amplifies the grit and determination of NASCAR drivers in the real world. Stewart-Haas eSports is a natural extension of Stewart-Haas Racing, where competition and simulation are one. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com/esports and follow on Twitter @SHR_eSports. 

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 80 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

North Wilkesboro Invitational Advance

Old School / New School Sim-metry

Details:

  • Race: North Wilkesboro 160 (Round 7)
  • Series:  eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
  • Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 9
  • Location: Virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway (.625-mile oval)
  • Distance:  160 laps (100 miles)

Where to Watch:

  • FOX network – Announcers: Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds
  • FS1 (DIRECTV Channel 219 and Dish Channel 150)
  • FOX Sports app
  • FOX Sports Racing for fans in Canada
  • Twitch.tv/StewartHaaseSports

DYK:

  • Nice Six Pack”: The six most watched esports events in U.S. television history are as follows…

1. March 29 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Texas Motor Speedway with 1.34 million viewers.
2. April 26 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Talladega Superspeedway with 1.24 million viewers.
3. April 5 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway with1.179 million viewers.
4. April 19 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Richmond Raceway with971,000 viewers.
5. March 22 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway with 903,000 viewers.
6. May 3 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Dover International Speedway with 903,000 viewers.

  • Lots of Eyes on iRacing: The May 3 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from Dover was the second-most watched sports event of the weekend. The most-watched sports event? Michael Jordan ‘The Last Dance’ documentary on ESPN.
  • The Kids Are Alright: Among the coveted 18-49 year-old demographic, the May 3 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from Dover was the No. 1 most-watched sports event of the weekend.
  • “Toasty!”: Prior to the debut of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, what was the most watched esports event in U.S. television history? Mortal Kombat when it aired on The CW in 2016.

Overview:

  • Virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway marks the final race of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, as real racing returns May 17 with the Darlington 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at the real Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series was a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. With the sports world on hiatus due to the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series existed in place of actual NASCAR events. The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series was an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of past and present racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • The iRacing undercard event the day prior to Saturday’s headlining eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race is the Friday Night Thunder race at virtual Martinsville Speedway where drivers compete in virtual NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. The Thunder event complements the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Xfinity Series driver, Chase Briscoe, will compete in Friday Night Thunder.
  • The livestream of Friday Night Thunder begins at 8 p.m. EDT on eNASCAR.com/live. Single-car qualifying begins at 8:05 p.m., which sets the lineup for four, 10-lap heat races. Six cars advance from each heat to the feature, with the final six spots in the 30-car field coming from the top-six finishers of a 15-lap consolation race, which takes place after the heat races and is comprised of drivers who have not yet qualified. The 125-lap feature race then follows.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Bros Pizza Ford Mustang:

“I actually tested my Cup car at North Wilkesboro in 2011 or 2012 – somewhere in that timeframe. We ran our car around there because they had it cleaned up enough and were running some races there. I’ve never actually run a race at North Wilkesboro other than those few laps I ran on that particular day. Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., and iRacing, obviously, pushed to get that track scanned, and it looks just like North Wilkesboro. I think it’s a great move, and I look forward to running there in my Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang before we go back to real racing.”

 

  • This is Harvick’s fourth eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Harvick started 18th and finished 18th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Dover.
  • Harvick’s best eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series finish is 12th, earned April 26 at Talladega.


Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:

“I have actually really enjoyed my short time in iRacing. I think it’s so cool to be able to virtually race somewhere we can’t in real life. We finished 10th at Dover by surviving, and I’m sure that will be the strategy this weekend. I think it will be a bit more of an even playing field now because the track is relatively new to everyone. The coolest thing about racing this weekend is that we surprised my wife, Janice, with a paint scheme that she colored a few weeks ago. We got bored and decided to color some fun paint schemes with the kids. Smithfield was kind enough to approve it and put it on the racecar to dedicate to Janice for Mother’s Day. If I win in this paint scheme, we might have to run it again on a real track.”

 

  • This is Almirola’s third eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Almirola started 27th and finished 10th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Dover. It is his best eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series result.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Center/Cummins #ThankATrucker Ford Mustang:

“How we used iRacing with our sport has been phenomenal. It gave us an opportunity to reach our fans and gave them some great entertainment. I’ve been entertained. I hope it shows. Jeff (Gordon) and I have been having a blast down there at the (FOX) studio calling these races. It has been a lot of fun, but it’s not much longer until we get back to real racing, and that’s what all of us want. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or paid attention, but the ones who are winning these iRaces are the ones that don’t have a family or a wife to answer to. So no, I don’t have much of a chance for success, but I’m still going to have fun in my Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang.”

  • This is Bowyer’s sixth eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Bowyer started 17th and finished 33rd in his last eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Talladega.
  • Bowyer’s best eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series finish is 11th, earned twice (March 29 at Texas and April 5 at Bristol).

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Haas Tooling Ford Mustang:

“I’ve never been to North Wilkesboro before, but it’s cool how when you drive to Bristol that you can see the track right off the highway, and you can kind of think about what it used to be back in its heyday. It will be really interesting since there are only a handful of guys who have driven on the track, so there will be a lot of learning for everyone to get it figured out, that’s for sure. I’ll definitely spend a couple more hours to try and get an idea of what to do in my Haas Tooling Ford Mustang since I’ve never been there.”

  • This is Custer’s third eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Custer started 36th and finished 12th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Dover. It is his best eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series result.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 High Point/Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang:

“Martinsville is such a fun track. You really have to understand how to get around it and find your rhythm, and that all still applies in the sim world. I got to race Martinsville a few weeks ago as part of the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge and was able to come away with a win, so I feel like if I can make it through the heat races and start up front, I could have a chance to do it again. It’s really all about track position and staying up front and out of trouble. That’s really been the plan for most of these races, but it hasn’t worked out all that well. We’ll give it one more shot forHighPoint.com and Ford Performance Racing School before we hit the track for real at Darlington.”

  • This is Briscoe’s fourth undercard race to the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. In his last outing at Dover, he finished fourth in his heat race and started 14th in the feature before finishing 14th. It is his best finish in the undercard event.
  • Briscoe is an iRacing regular, with most of his races coming in the Xfinity Series.

eNASCAR Heat Pro League Dover Advance

Matthew Selby, a.k.a. ‘Slick’ and Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. ‘Hot Rod’ Aren’t Scared of the Monster Mile

Details:

  • Event: eNASCAR Heat Pro League (Round 3 of 14)
  • Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
  • Time/Date: 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 6
  • Location: Virtual Dover International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
  • Distance: 70 laps (70 miles)

Where to Watch:

Overview:

  • Stewart-Haas eSports fields two drivers in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League – one for Xbox One and the other for PlayStation 4 (PS4).
  • Matthew Selby, a.k.a. “Slick” (SHRe Slick 4), competes on the Xbox One platform, and Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. “Hot Rod” (SHRe_HotRod_14), races on the PS4 version. Selby is new to the team in 2020 while this is Gritton’s second season.
  • In the two eNASCAR Heat Pro League races held thus far, both Stewart-Haas eSports drivers have scored top-10 finishes in each race.
  • Selby finished fifth in his first career eNASCAR Heat Pro League start April 22 at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and sixth in the series’ last race April 29 at virtual Watkins Glen International.
  • Gritton finished sixth in the season opener at Homestead and seventh at Watkins Glen. He now has 11 career top-10s.
  • This is the eNASCAR Heat Pro League’s first visit to virtual Dover International Speedway.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports enters Dover seventh in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship standings with 72 points, 31 behind series-leading Chip Ganassi Gaming.

Matthew Selby, a.k.a. “Slick”, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang on Xbox One:

“Dover is named the ‘Monster Mile’ for a reason – very hard on equipment and drivers. Plan is to be aggressive all race in our Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang while being smart. In other words, out ‘Slick’ the competition and Miles.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selby is new to Stewart-Haas eSports, but he is not new to sim racing. The 17-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, has been sim racing for 10 years, belying his status as an eNASCAR Heat Pro League rookie.


Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. “Hot Rod”, driver of the No. 14 DEKALB Ford F-150 on PS4:  

“We didn’t run Dover last year, but I believe we have a race-winning car tonight. Just hope we play the fuel mileage right, as fuel mileage has been what’s decided these races of late. But when it comes to speed alone, I believe we have the fastest PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze Ford Mustang, hands down.”

Gritton helped Stewart-Haas eSports win last year’s inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship, and he returned in 2020 to defend the team’s title. The 24-year-old from Kokomo, Indiana, led the league in wins (4), poles (7) and laps led (219) in 2019. Gritton’s victories came at Bristol Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.

Background:

  • The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is the first-ever console-based NASCAR eSports league and it races on NASCAR Heat 4, the latest game in the NASCAR Heat franchise.
  • The eNASCAR Heat Pro League features a 14-race schedule comprised of virtual racetracks from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series. The four-month schedule is divided into three, four-race segments, followed by a wild-card race before culminating with a championship race.
  • Segment No. 1: April 22 NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, April 29 Truck Series race at Watkins Glen International, May 6 Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway and May 13 Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  • Segment No. 2: May 20 Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, May 27 Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, June 3 Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway and June 10 Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Segment No. 3: June 17 Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway, June 24 Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, July 1 Xfinity Series race at Road America and July 8 Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • The wild-card race will be a Cup Series race July 15 at Daytona International Speedway with the championship race also being a Cup Series event on a TBD date at a TBD track.
  • This is the second season of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League and Stewart-Haas eSports is the reigning champion after winning last year’s inaugural title.

 

Dover Invitational Advance

Even in Sim Racing, Nothing Simple about Monster Mile

Details:

  • Race:  eNASCAR Finish Line 150 (Round 6)
  • Series:  eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
  • Time/Date:  1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 3
  • Location:  Dover International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
  • Distance:  150 laps (150 miles)

Where to Watch:

  • FOX network – Announcers: Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds
  • FS1 (DIRECTV Channel 219 and Dish Channel 150)
  • FOX Sports app
  • FOX Sports Racing for fans in Canada
  • Twitch.tv/StewartHaaseSports

DYK:

  • Gimme Five: The five most watched esports events in U.S. television history are as follows…

1. March 29 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Texas Motor Speedway with 1.34 million viewers.
2. April 26 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Talladega Superspeedway with 1.24 million viewers.
3. April 5 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway with1.179 million viewers.
4. April 19 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Richmond Raceway with971,000 viewers.
5. March 22 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway with 903,000 viewers.

  • Trivia Time: Prior to the debut of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, what was the most watched esports event in U.S. television history? Mortal Kombat when it aired on The CW in 2016. That was four years ago, seemingly the equivalent of the time period between March 13 and April 30, 2020, and roughly six times longer than Han Solo was frozen in carbonite.

Overview:

  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of past and present racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
  • With the sports world on hiatus due to the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series exists in place of actual NASCAR events.
  • The iRacing undercard event the day prior to Sunday’s headlining eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race is the Saturday Night Thunder race where drivers compete in virtual NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. The Thunder event complements the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Xfinity Series driver, Chase Briscoe, will compete in Saturday Night Thunder.
  • The livestream of Saturday Night Thunder begins at 8 p.m. EDT on eNASCAR.com/live. Single-car qualifying begins at 8:05 p.m., which sets the lineup for four, 10-lap heat races, with each heat race including as many as 20 drivers. Six cars advance from each heat to the feature, with the final two spots in the 26-car field coming from the top-two finishers of a 15-lap consolation race, which takes place after the heat races and is comprised of drivers who have not yet qualified. The 125-lap feature race then follows.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang:

“Probably the biggest difference in iRacing is the motion. They’ve done a really good job of developing their racetracks with the signs and cracks and bumps and the different things that go with them, but with iRacing, I have it all turned off on my Busch Light Ford Mustang. You can feel it a little bit in the pedals and the steering wheel, but for me, with the more you turn off on iRacing, the better it is.”

  • This is Harvick’s third eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Harvick started 24th and finished 12th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Talladega.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Dover, Harvick has two wins, eight top-five and 19 top-10 finishes with 1,443 laps led in 38 career starts.
  • Harvick’s Dover victories came in October 2015 and May 2018.


Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:

“Dover is one of my favorite tracks in real life, but after iRacing last weekend at Talladega in mySmithfield Ford Mustang, I know it’s an entirely different feel. We finished 18th last weekend after knocking some rust off. It’s going to be tough to get up to speed with a lot of these guys with the limited amount of practice I’ll have. Being a homeschool teacher and dad during the week doesn’t free up much time, so the young guys have even more of an advantage on us. I’m looking forward to iRacing at a track like Dover where we’re up on the wheel the entire race. It will be fun for me to try a new track style and, as always, fun for the fans watching again.”

  • This is Almirola’s second eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Almirola started 21st and finished 18th in his eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series debut last Sunday at Talladega.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Dover, Almirola has two top-five and three top-10 finishes with 64 laps led in 15 career starts.
  • Almirola’s best Dover finish is fifth, earned twice (May 2015 and October 2015).

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Haas Tooling Ford Mustang:

“Things from real life definitely apply to iRacing, but you also have to learn all the other little things that are unique to iRacing. This time has definitely opened my mind to iRacing. I think in the future I’ll want to try and use it a little more for races coming up in my Haas Tooling Ford Mustang, because it can be a good tool to just knock the rust off before going somewhere. I’m looking forward to Dover because I’ve done well there in the past, but I know there’s going to be things to learn. When I won Dover I knew I was always going to have that trophy out somewhere in my house. It’s in my bedroom right now. It’s a trophy that’s so unique and awesome that everyone wants it and has it circled on the schedule.”

  • This is Custer’s second eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Custer started 23rd and finished 26th in his eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series debut last Sunday at Talladega.
  • In actual racing, Custer has made a total of six Xfinity Series starts at Dover. He has four top-five and five top-10 finishes with a total of 224 laps led, highlighted by a win last October. He is a NASCAR Cup Series rookie and has yet to make a Cup Series start at Dover.
  • Custer also has three NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series starts at Dover, with a best finish of fifth in May 2016.
  • Before Custer advanced to the Truck Series, he raced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, making two starts at Dover with a best finish of 14th in September 2013.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang:

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s race at Dover and being back in the Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang. Dover is a track I was really excited to get to before the season was put on hold, and this paint scheme is one of my favorites. I know everyone from Production Alliance Group has been following along each week, so hopefully I can put it in victory lane for them on Saturday.”

  • This is Briscoe’s third Saturday Night Thunder race. In his last outing at Talladega, he won his heat race and started second in the feature before finishing 34th.
  • Briscoe is an iRacing regular, with most of his races coming in the Xfinity Series.
  • In actual racing, Briscoe has never competed in the NASCAR Cup Series. He is currently in his second full season of Xfinity Series racing.
  • Briscoe has made a total of four starts at Dover – three in the Xfinity Series (best finish is fifth, earned twice, May 2019 and October 2019, where he started from the pole), and one in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series (finished 12th after starting from the pole in June 2017).

 

eNASCAR Heat Pro League Watkins Glen Advance

Matthew Selby, a.k.a. ‘Slick’ and Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. ‘Hot Rod’ Ready for First Road-Course Race of 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Season

Details:

  • Event: eNASCAR Heat Pro League (Round 2 of 14)
  • Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series
  • Time/Date: 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 29
  • Location: Virtual Watkins Glen International (2.45-mile, seven-turn road course)
  • Distance: 24 laps (58.8 miles)

Where to Watch:

Overview:

  • Stewart-Haas eSports fields two drivers in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League – one for Xbox One and the other for PlayStation 4 (PS4).
  • Matthew Selby, a.k.a. “Slick” (SHRe Slick 4), competes on the Xbox One platform, and Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. “Hot Rod” (SHRe_HotRod_14), races on the PS4 version. Selby is new to the team in 2020 while this is Gritton’s second season.
  • Both Stewart-Haas eSports drivers scored strong finishes in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League season opener April 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Selby finished fifth in the Xbox One race and Gritton came home sixth in the PS4 race.
  • It was Selby’s first career eNASCAR Heat Pro League start.
  • It was Gritton’s 10th career eNASCAR Heat Pro League top-10.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports enters Watkins Glen seventh in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship standings with 37 points, 23 behind the series-leading JTG Daugherty Throttlers.
  • Gritton finished fourth in last year’s eNASCAR Heat Pro League race at Watkins Glen. He led six laps in his lone career start at The Glen.
  • This round of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League at Watkins Glen features the NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series. The NASCAR Cup Series was featured in the season opener at Homestead. As such, Selby and Gritton have swapped their Ford Mustangs for Ford F-150s in tonight’s race.

Matthew Selby, a.k.a. “Slick”, driver of the No. 4 Ford Performance Racing School Ford F-150 on Xbox One:

“Watkins Glen is a pretty technical track and it all comes down to setup and if you can hang on to it. I’ve raced at The Glen in other esports series, but haven’t won there yet – looking to change that tonight. It’s definitely a race you don’t want to miss. It’ll be an exciting one for the fans and we’re ready to go with our Ford Performance Racing School F-150.”

Selby is new to Stewart-Haas eSports, but he is not new to sim racing. The 17-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, has been sim racing for 10 years, belying his status as an eNASCAR Heat Pro League rookie.


Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. “Hot Rod”, driver of the No. 14 DEKALB Ford F-150 on PS4:  

“We’ve put in a lot of work this week to prepare for Watkins Glen. It’s a challenging layout that tends to force a lot of mistakes. Staying focused is key, as is having some luck. We’ve got a strong DEKALB Ford and I believe we can get the job done.”

Gritton helped Stewart-Haas eSports win last year’s inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship, and he returned in 2020 to defend the team’s title. The 24-year-old from Kokomo, Indiana, led the league in wins (4), poles (7) and laps led (219) in 2019. Gritton’s victories came at Bristol Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.

Background:

  • The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is the first-ever console-based NASCAR eSports league and it races on NASCAR Heat 4, the latest game in the NASCAR Heat franchise.
  • The eNASCAR Heat Pro League features a 14-race schedule comprised of virtual racetracks from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series. The four-month schedule is divided into three, four-race segments, followed by a wild-card race before culminating with a championship race.
  • Segment No. 1: April 22 NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, April 29 Truck Series race at Watkins Glen International, May 6 Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway and May 13 Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  • Segment No. 2: May 20 Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, May 27 Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, June 3 Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway and June 10 Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Segment No. 3: June 17 Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway, June 24 Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, July 1 Xfinity Series race at Road America and July 8 Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • The wild-card race will be a Cup Series race July 15 at Daytona International Speedway with the championship race also being a Cup Series event on a TBD date at a TBD track.
  • This is the second season of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League and Stewart-Haas eSports is the reigning champion after winning last year’s inaugural title.

 

Stewart-Haas eSports Dover Advance

Drivers Justin Bolton and Dylan Duval Ready for Battle at Dover’s ‘Monster Mile’ in Sixth Round of eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series

Details:

  • Event: eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series (Round 6 of 20)
  • Time/Date:9 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 28
  • Location: Virtual Dover International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
  • Distance: 200 laps (200 miles)

Where to Watch:

Overview:

  • This is the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ eighth visit to virtual Dover International Speedway. Its first race took place in 2011, and Dover was not on the schedule last year.
  • Dover is the first one-mile oval the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will visit in 2020. Its last two races have come at short tracks (virtual Bristol Motor Speedway and virtual Richmond Raceway) and its first three races came at tracks 1.5 miles in length or longer (virtual Daytona International Speedway, virtual Auto Club Speedway and virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway).
  • Dover is the second track on the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series schedule featuring a concrete surface. The first was Bristol back on March 31.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports driver Justin Bolton has only one career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series start at Dover. It came in 2015 and he finished second after starting from the pole and leading 30 laps.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports driver Dylan Duval has three career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series starts at Dover with a best finish of 14th in 2013.
  • Bolton and Duval come into Dover looking for a rebound after both finished outside the top-20 in the series’ last race April 14 at Richmond.
  • Bolton’s best finish so far this season is 10th, earned March 31 at Bristol.
  • Duval’s best finish so far this season is 15th, earned March 17 at Homestead.

Justin Bolton, driver of the No. 10 Get Busch Delivered! Ford Mustang:

“This is a race I’ve had circled on my calendar ever since the schedule came out. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of people who have been really great at Dover over the last six years and they’ve helped me a ton. A big factor at Dover is just being comfortable, and the speed will come with that. We have the first part down, so far. Hopefully, we can have the speed for qualifying and can stay up front for the race. We were good at Bristol and have had the pace over the course of a run at the other mile-and-a-half intermediates. If you put the two together, we should be OK in our Get Busch Delivered! Ford Mustang.”

Bolton is a 25-year-old engineer on Stewart-Haas Racing’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team who helped Cole Custer to a career-high seven victories in 2019. Bolton has raced in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series off and on since 2014, accumulating 51 starts with nine top-five finishes and a career-best points result of ninth in 2015. The Latrobe, Pennsylvania, native also has real-world racing experience, as Bolton has raced Legends cars and Late Model stock cars, winning the 2013 Fall Classic at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the Limited Late Model division.

 

Dylan Duval, driver of the No. 41 Smithfield Ford Mustang:    

“I’m looking forward to the race at Dover. The track is very similar to Bristol, where we had an outstanding car. I’m feeling confident about our chances with our Smithfield Ford Mustang. I just need to focus on qualifying so we don’t have to deal with trying to come through the field. We’ve turned a lot of laps in preparation and we’ve learned that tire management is going to be extremely important. That’s something we’ve been very good at this season, so I’m hoping it will play right into our hands.”

Duval is a 25-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The graphic designer debuted in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2012 and is the first Canadian iRacing winner in series history, taking the checkered flag at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016. Duval has made 78 starts in his seven-year career, scoring eight top-fives and earning a best points finish of fifth in 2016.

Talladega Invitational Advance

Sim As It Ever Was: Harvick, Almirola, Bowyer and Custer Together Again On Track at Virtual Talladega
Briscoe Back for Saturday Night Thunder

Details:

  • Race: GEICO 70 (Round 5)
  • Series: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
  • Time/Date: 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 26
  • Location: Virtual Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
  • Distance: 70 laps (186.2 miles)

Where to Watch:

  • FOX network – Announcers: Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds, with in-race commentary from Clint Bowyer.
  • FS1 (DIRECTV Channel 219 and Dish Channel 150)
  • FOX Sports app
  • FOX Sports Racing for fans in Canada
  • Twitch.tv/StewartHaaseSports

Overview:

  • We Need a Bigger Podium: Last Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Richmond Raceway had 971,000 viewers tune in to the simulcast on FOX and FS1, making it the third-most watched esports event in U.S. television history. The March 29 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Texas Motor Speedway remains on the podium’s top step with 1.34 million viewers. The April 5 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway takes the second step with 1.179 million viewers. The first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race March 22 at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway earned 903,000 viewers on FS1 alone. And while the Texas race dwarfed that number by 47 percent, the Homestead race was, for at least one week, the most watched esports event in U.S. television history, having bested the previous record of 770,000 viewers when Mortal Kombat aired on The CW in 2016.
  • iRacing’s Real-World Context: Last Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race from Richmond was the second-most watched sports event of the weekend. The most-watched sports event? Michael Jordan ‘The Last Dance’ documentary on ESPN.
  • New Viewers Assimilate to Sim Racing: According to Nielsen, one million unique viewers who did not watch any of the four real-life NASCAR Cup Series races prior to the sports industry’s necessary hiatus to combat the spread of the coronavirus did tune in to one of the four eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series races held thus far.
  • Kind of a Big Deal: A total of 5.4 million unique viewers have watched at least one eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race via FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports app.
  • Bet On It: The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series has been cleared and approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for wagering. Two types of bets are allowed for the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series: winner of the race and head-to-head winner between drivers. Provisions for licensing the event includes a posting of the official rules for the tournament organizer and that all bets must cease once a race has started. Additionally, each bookmaker is allowed to create its own odds.

Overview:

  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of past and present racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
  • With the sports world on hiatus due to the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series exists in place of actual NASCAR events.
  • The iRacing undercard event the day prior to Sunday’s headlining eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race is the Saturday Night Thunder race where 40 drivers will compete in virtual NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. The Thunder event complements the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Xfinity Series driver, Chase Briscoe, will compete in Saturday Night Thunder.
  • The livestream of Saturday Night Thunder begins at 8 p.m. EDT on eNASCAR.com/live. Single-car qualifying begins at 8:05 p.m., which sets the lineup for two, 10-lap heat races. Twenty car cars will advance from each heat to compete in the 57-lap feature (151.62 miles).

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Flannel Ford Mustang:

“The whole iRacing process is sort of overwhelming for me. I finally just said, ‘The heck with it. I’m going to go race.’ And it’s just like racing anything else – if you don’t go race, you just get further behind, because everyone is getting better. So, I decided to dive in at Richmond. I actually qualified in the middle of the pack and was running fine, but you’ve got your spotter in one ear, and you’ve also got the engine noise from the car. Plus, I was on Skype because the team was broadcasting on Twitch. So, I’ve got my laptop on my left, my iPad on my right, and my phone on the floor, and I’ve got all this stuff going on in my ear. I’m at the point in my iRacing career where if something flashes on the screen or something is in my ear, it distracts me because I have to be so focused on what I’m doing because I don’t really know what I’m doing. So, I’m running along there and have passed a couple of cars and all of a sudden we’re having trouble with the laptop with FOX connecting. Before the race, I sent them my other Skype account and said use this one because it’s on my iPad. Then in the race, I hit the car on the left side of me, and then I hit the guy on the right side of me and I brake checked the guy behind me. Well, it was because my iPad rings into my headset, so I don’t hear the engine noise, my spotter, nothing, because it’s that crazy Skype ring. I jerk the wheel to the right and to the left. I’m reaching over trying to shut the iPad off. I’m trying to hit end, but the facial recognition says use your passcode. So, I’m trying to reach over to grab the iPad and, meanwhile, I’m hitting everyone who is around me. From that point, it kind of spiraled out of control. But I still had fun. I was way more competitive than I thought I would be. I’ve learned a lot, too. I feel like I’m going to do a little bit better as we get to Talladega with our Busch Flannel Ford Mustang. The short tracks are hard. I should have started at Texas, because I was fine in practice at Texas. If it wasn’t for Ryan Preece, I wouldn’t even be close. He was kind enough to help me on a daily basis.”

  • This is Harvick’s second eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Harvick started 17th and finished 29th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Richmond.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Talladega, Harvick has one win, seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes with 260 laps led in 38 career starts.
  • Harvick’s Talladega victory came in April 2010.


Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:

“Well, I’ve won at Talladega before, so it shouldn’t be that hard, right? In all seriousness, I’ve seen these veteran drivers and champions of the sport practice for hours and still struggle to finish the race, so the expectation for myself is low. It’ll be interesting to make my Pro Invitational debut at Talladega where we’ll just have to survive. Who knows, maybe I’ll be one of the last guys standing and have a shot at it. Whether we wreck on the first lap or have a decent day, this is just a lot of fun for race fans, my fans, and to get back on track – even a virtual track – with Smithfield on our Ford Mustang.”

  • This is Almirola’s first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Talladega, Almirola has one win, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes with 46 laps led in 20 career starts.
  • Almirola’s Talladega victory came in October 2018.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Barstool Sports Ford Mustang: 

“I finished last Sunday at Richmond, so I can only get better this week at Talladega. We have to do better, especially since we’ve got Barstool Sports on the car and Dave Portnoy (Barstool Sports founder) will never let me hear the end of it if we don’t. Did I mention that I finished last? These races are fun, but the competition is tough. You have to give credit where credit is due, because the guys having success are the ones that are always on iRacing putting in the time. You go to these practice races during the week and you see guys like William Byron logging the laps and putting in the practice time. That shows up during the race. These guys are really good at what they do, so it’s hard for us to come in and compete with them. That’s OK, though. This is just a fun way to get together on a Sunday afternoon. I’m enjoying the heck out of all this but, truthfully, I can’t wait to get back to real racing.”

  • Bowyer has competed in all four eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series races. His best finish is 11th, earned twice (March 29 at Texas and April 5 at Bristol).
  • Bowyer started 30th and finished 30th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Richmond.
  • Bowyer’s eponymous iRacing team competes in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series with drivers Brandon Kettelle and Brian Schoenberg, and Bowyer’s dirt late model team has been sponsored by iRacing for several years.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Talladega, Bowyer has two wins, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes with 123 laps led in 28 career starts.
  • Bowyer’s Talladega victories came in October 2010 and October 2011.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/Haas Automation Ford Mustang:

“Going into Talladega, I’m hoping we can just get to the end of the race. I’m expecting that we’ll have a few big ones. Hopefully, we can stay out of them and get our Autodesk Fusion 360/Haas Automation Ford Mustang to the end. I haven’t done much drafting on iRacing, but I think the hardest thing will just be getting a feel for how hard you’re pushing someone because you won’t have the actual feel of hitting someone. But it will definitely help having all of my teammates in the race, especially because it’s a superspeedway where you can push each other. We haven’t talked too much about a strategy yet but, overall, the biggest thing you try and do with your teammates is just not leave each other out, and you try and push each other whenever you can.”

  • Stewart-Haas eSports utilizes Autodesk 3ds Max software to create digital 3-D renderings of each of its virtual Ford Mustangs. The team’s graphic designers transfer their layouts into the program, wrapping the scheme onto the car. The team then creates a custom render scene in Autodesk 3ds Max that utilizes a floor and lighting effects, inducing the necessary reflective glare and shadows to provide a real-world look and feel to each design. Autodesk 3ds Max software allows users to render each car with any elements they desire, providing design freedom for any and all digital platforms.
  • This is Custer’s first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • Custer made his iRacing debut last Saturday in the Saturday Night Thunder race at Richmond. He started 11th and finished 18th.
  • In actual racing, Custer has made a total of three Xfinity Series starts at Talladega with a best finish of ninth (April 2018). He is a NASCAR Cup Series rookie and has yet to make a Cup Series start at Talladega.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School/HighPoint.com Ford Mustang:

“I really don’t know what to expect in this weekend’s iRacing event at Talladega. I think the race will live up to the ‘anything can happen’ expectation that we all have when we go there normally. It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out. Hopefully, I don’t get caught up in too big of a mess and I’ll be able to bring home a decent finish for Ford Performance Racing School and HighPoint.com.”

  • This is Briscoe’s second Saturday Night Thunder race. He started seventh and finished 22nd in last Saturday’s race at Richmond.
  • Briscoe is an iRacing regular, with most of his races coming in the Xfinity Series.
  • In actual racing, Briscoe has never competed in the NASCAR Cup Series. He is currently in his second full season of Xfinity Series racing.
  • Briscoe has made a total of four starts at Talladega – two in the Xfinity Series (best finish is fourth in April 2019), one in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series (finished 22nd in October 2017) and one in the ARCA Series (finished third in April 2016).

 

eNASCAR Heat Pro League Homestead Advance

Drivers Matthew Selby, a.k.a. ‘Slick’ and Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. ‘Hot Rod’
Kick Off 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Season at Virtual Homestead;

Stewart-Haas eSports Set To Defend Championship Title

Details:

  • Event: eNASCAR Heat Pro League (Round 1 of 14)
  • Time/Date: 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 22 (TONIGHT)
  • Location: Virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
  • Distance: 50 laps (75 miles)

Where to Watch:

Overview:

  • The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is the first-ever console-based NASCAR eSports league and it races on NASCAR Heat 4, the latest game in the NASCAR Heat franchise.
  • The eNASCAR Heat Pro League features a 14-race schedule comprised of virtual racetracks from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series. The four-month schedule is divided into three, four-race segments, followed by a wild-card race before culminating with a championship race.
  • Segment No. 1 consists of tonight’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead, a Truck Series race April 29 at Watkins Glen International, an Xfinity Series race May 6 at Dover International Speedway and a Cup Series race May 13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  • Segment No. 2 features a Truck Series race May 20 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a Cup Series race May 27 at Talladega Superspeedway, an Xfinity Series race June 3 at Iowa Speedway and a Cup Series race June 10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Segment No. 3 involves a Truck Series race June 17 at Eldora Speedway, a Cup Series race June 24 at Auto Club Speedway, an Xfinity Series race July 1 at Road America and a Cup Series race July 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • The wild-card race will be a Cup Series race July 15 at Daytona International Speedway with the championship race also being a Cup Series event on a TBD date at a TBD track.
  • This is the second season of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, and Stewart-Haas eSports enters 2020 as the reigning champion after winning last year’s inaugural title.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports fields two drivers in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League – one for Xbox One and the other for PlayStation 4 (PS4). Matthew Selby, a.k.a. “Slick”, competes on the Xbox One platform, and Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. “Hot Rod”, races on the PS4 version. Selby is new to the team in 2020 while Gritton returns for his second season.

Matthew Selby, a.k.a. “Slick”, driver of the No. 4 Haas Tooling Ford Mustang on Xbox One:

“I’m ready to get this season started and genuinely excited to be with Stewart-Haas eSports. Homestead is a fast and unforgiving track, so I’ll need to manage my equipment in order to be in a position at the end where we can win in our Haas Tooling Ford Mustang.”

Selby is new to Stewart-Haas eSports, but he is not new to sim racing. The 17-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, has been sim racing for 10 years, belying his status as an eNASCAR Heat Pro League rookie.


Brandyn Gritton, a.k.a. “Hot Rod”, driver of the No. 14 Smithfield Ford Mustang on PS4:  

“I’ve always been fast at Homestead and I love the multi-groove racing. Unfortunately, luck hasn’t been on our side there. We dominated our last race there, but got beat on fuel strategy. That has us feeling pretty confident that the speed will be there in our Smithfield Ford Mustang.”

Gritton helped Stewart-Haas eSports win last year’s inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship, and he returns in 2020 to defend the team’s title. The 24-year-old from Kokomo, Indiana, led the league in wins (4), poles (7) and laps led (219) in 2019. Gritton’s victories came at Bristol Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.

 

Richmond Invitational Advance

Harvick and Bowyer Similarly Locked In for Sunday’s Invitational;
Custer and Briscoe Set for Saturday Night Thunder;
Custer Has Opportunity to Race His Way Into Invitational
Details:

  • Race: Toyota Owners 150 (Round 4)
  • Series: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
  • Time/Date: 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 19
  • Location: Virtual Richmond Raceway (.75-mile oval)
  • Distance: 150 laps (112.5 miles)

Where to Watch:

DYK?:

  • Trivia Question: What are the three most-watched esports events on TV in United States history? Answer: The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.
  • The March 29 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway was the most-watched esports event on TV in United States history. Simulcast on FOX and FS1, 1.34 million viewers tuned in, breaking the previous record set by the first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race March 22 at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway by 47 percent. That broadcast earned 903,000 viewers on FS1 alone, which bested the previous record of 770,000 viewers when Mortal Kombat aired on The CW in 2016.
  • But Wait, There’s More!: The last eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race April 5 at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway averaged 1.179 million viewers across FOX and FS1, making it the second most-watched sports telecast of the weekend and the No. 1 sport among adults age 18-49.
  • Bet On It: The eNASCARiRacing Pro Invitational Series has been cleared and approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for wagering. Two types of bets are allowed for the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series: winner of the race and head-to-head winner between drivers. Provisions for licensing the event includes a posting of the official rules for the tournament organizer and that all bets must cease once a race has started. Additionally, each bookmaker is allowed to create its own odds.

Overview:

  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of past and present racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
  • With the sports world on a necessary hiatus to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series exists in place of actual NASCAR events.
  • The iRacing undercard event the day prior to Sunday’s headlining eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race is the Saturday Night Thunder race where 43 drivers will compete in virtual NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. The Thunder event complements the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, and NASCAR Cup Series drivers not competing in Sunday’s race are eligible for this race. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe will compete in Saturday Night Thunder.
  • The livestream of Saturday Night Thunder begins at 8 p.m. EDT on com/live. Single-car qualifying begins at 8:05 p.m., which sets the lineup for the four, 10-lap heat races, with each heat race including as many as 15 drivers. Six cars advance from each heat to the feature, with the final two spots in the 26-car field coming from the top-two finishers of a 15-lap consolation race, which takes place after the heat races and is comprised of drivers who have not yet qualified. The 125-lap feature race then follows.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang:      

“I’ve been trying to practice one hour a day. I’ve got Busch Light on my Ford Mustang and I’m going to have fun with it. I did win a street stock race this week (on iRacing)…after I wrecked in the first four. I won a Legends race by default because the whole field crashed. But those are really my only two iRacing wins. They’re not pretty. I did wreck the whole field in a Legends race the other day after starting on the front row on lap one. So, that was high entertainment. I figure the whole iRacing thing is really something that’s supposed to be fun for everybody, supposed to be filler for a gap in time during this crazy pandemic. The whole iRacing thing has introduced me to a whole new network of people and it’s opened my eyes to a whole new group of racers. It’s a different culture, but it’s still a racing culture.”

  • This is Harvick’s first eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Richmond, Harvick has three wins, 15 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in 38 career starts.
  • Harvick’s three wins came in September 2006, September 2011 and April 2013.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze Ford Mustang:       

“iRacing is extremely realistic. You’re using the same mechanics, the same forces, and the same movements you use in real life to make your car go fast, and that includes your hand-eye coordination and your feet. You drive these things so much with the pedals, with the gas, the brake, the steering input. All of those inputs in your mind are the exact same thing we use to put our car to the front of the field on any given Sunday. That being said, the only sense that you don’ t have in a simulator is the feel from the seat of your pants. We kind of call it the ‘butt dyno’. You balance a racecar kind of like if you put a plate on the end of an ink pen. That’s how you balance a racecar. That thing wants to go on all four different axis’, whether it’s the right-front, left-front, right-rear, left-rear, you can feel all those things, and that’s how you balance a car is through the seat of your pants. In iRacing, you don’t have that. All you have is your visuals, so once you have the hang of that and your mind finally catches on, it’s kind of like riding a bike. It’s a struggle for a little while, but once you catch on to that and realize what’s going on with the movements of your car and the movements of the track and things like that – when to pick up the gas, your timing – once you get all that set, it’s exactly like what we do in real life with our PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze Ford Mustang.”

  • Bowyer started 32nd and finished 11th in the previous eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Bristol.
  • Bowyer considers himself a hobby iRacer. Sunday’s race at Richmond will be just his fourth official iRacing start in a virtual NASCAR Cup Series race.
  • Bowyer’s eponymous iRacing team competes in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series with drivers Brandon Kettelle and Brian Schoenberg, and Bowyer’s dirt late model team has been sponsored by iRacing for several years.
  • In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Richmond, Bowyer has two wins, five top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 28 career starts.
  • Bowyer’s two wins came in May 2008 and September 2012.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Ford Project Apollo Ford Mustang:       

“My goal is to just finish the race clean in my Haas Automation/Ford Project Apollo Ford Mustang. I haven’t done much iRacing before, so it’s definitely a little hard to get used to, but hopefully I can get some laps under my belt and get better as I go. I’ll look at the format and figure out what type of strategy I want, and see how I’m running and go from there. There’s going to be some learning because I’ve never done it. I’m definitely going to have someone around me helping through the race. It will be hard keeping track of everything because it is new to me and there’s a lot to handle. I’ve been talking with Chase Briscoe a little about it. He’s had iRacing for a little while now and is pretty good at it, so just getting a general idea of what to look for is important. I’ve also asked Justin Bolton, SHR’s iRacing driver, some questions. I’ve worked with him in the past because he was an engineer on my Xfinity team last year and he obviously knows a lot about it.”

  • This is Custer’s first Saturday Night Thunder race.
  • In actual racing, Custer has made a total of eight starts at Richmond – one in the NASCAR Cup Series and seven in the Xfinity Series.
  • Custer is a winner at Richmond, as he earned an Xfinity Series victory at the track in April 2019.
  • Custer also has the opportunity to race his way into Sunday’s eNASCARiRacing Pro Invitational Series race. After the Saturday Night Thunder event, Custer will compete in a 25-lap race at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday. Should he finish first or second in that race, he will earn a starting spot in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang:

“I’m ready to get back in my No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang at Richmond. In the real world, Richmond is a track that I struggled at my first time there, but like anywhere else, I was able to improve with experience. The same things apply to sim racing. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get. Richmond is a tough track, so if you haven’t put in the time to test it out, it’s probably going to be a struggle. I enjoy short-track racing. It’s always exciting and I think we’ll see a lot of those same short-track racing characteristics in the iRacing event Saturday night. Hopefully, I’ll qualify well and have a good run in the heat race to lock into the main so we can put on a show.”

  • This is Briscoe’s first Saturday Night Thunder race, but he is a regular iRacer, with most of his races coming in the Xfinity Series.
  • In actual racing, Briscoe has never competed in the NASCAR Cup Series. He is currently in his second full season of Xfinity Series racing.
  • Briscoe has three Xfinity Series starts at Richmond. He has two top-10s, with a best finish of fifth in September 2019.

Stewart-Haas eSports Richmond Advance

Drivers Justin Bolton and Dylan Duval Take Momentum fromBristol to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Stop at Richmond

Details:

  • Event: eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series (Round 5 of 20)
  • Time/Date: 9 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 14 (TONIGHT)
  • Location: Virtual Richmond Raceway (.75-mile oval)
  • Distance: 200 laps (150 miles)

Where to Watch:

Overview:

  • This is the second straight time the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series competes on a short track. The series’ previous race took place March 31 at the .533-mile virtual Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • This is the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ 11th visit to the virtual Richmond Raceway. Its first race took place in 2010.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports driver Justin Bolton has two career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series starts at Richmond with a best finish of seventh in 2015.
  • Stewart-Haas eSports driver Dylan Duval has four career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series starts at Richmond with a best finish of sixth in 2016.
  • Bolton comes into Richmond having scored a season-best result in the series’ last race at Bristol. He finished 10th to score his first top-10 of 2020, and it came in his first career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series start at Bristol.
  • Dylan also had a good performance at Bristol, despite his 36th-place finish. Dylan climbed from 31st to 12th in the first 80 laps, but was collected in an accident that ultimately put him 25 laps down.

Justin Bolton, driver of the No. 10 Get Busch Delivered! Ford Mustang:

“I’ve always loved Richmond. It’s a racetrack that will give back to you if you can save your stuff. With our first short track (Bristol) going well for us, we’re excited to jump into another short track at Richmond. It’s hard to figure out what we have in terms of speed, but it’s fun to drive despite having a severe lack of grip there during the day. You can’t drive a slow car fast, so I’m hoping we have another good Get Busch Delivered! Ford Mustang.”


Bolton is a 25-year-old engineer on Stewart-Haas Racing’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team who helped Cole Custer to a career-high seven victories in 2019. Bolton has raced in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series off and on since 2014, accumulating 49 starts with nine top-five finishes and a career-best points result of ninth in 2015. The Latrobe, Pennsylvania, native also has real-world racing experience, as Bolton has raced Legends cars and Late Model stock cars, winning the 2013 Fall Classic at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the Limited Late Model division.

 

Dylan Duval, driver of the No. 41 Abruzzi Racewear U.S.A. Ford Mustang:    

“I’m really looking forward to Richmond. It’s one of my favorite tracks. We had an extremely fast car at Bristol, which is exciting as we head into another short track. Richmond has been a very strong track for me in the past. The finishes haven’t always shown that, but I feel very confident in my ability to run up front. We’ve been hard at work to get our Abruzzi Racewear U.S.A Ford Mustang prepared, and I feel very good about our chances.”

Duval is a 24-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The graphic designer debuted in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2012 and is the first Canadian iRacing winner in series history, taking the checkered flag at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016. Duval has made 76 starts in his seven-year career, scoring eight top-fives and earning a best points finish of fifth in 2016.