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.