NASCAR turns to esports after canceling races over outbreaks

NASCAR is turning to esports after canceling real-world races over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Fox Sports will broadcast this first-ever eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series event on Fox Sports 1 and through its Fox Sports app. The event will take place over 90 minutes and will involve some of racing's biggest names, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte.

The NASCAR national series events were originally set to take place over this upcoming weekend at the Homestead, but the races have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and orders for social distancing. This presented a 'unique' challenge that technology will help overcome.

In an announcement late this week, NASCAR revealed that it will hold a simulation-system esports program called FOX NASCAR iRacing with the first 90-minute event scheduled to happen this upcoming Sunday, March 22, at 1:30 PM EST on Fox Sports 1 and the Fox Sports app.

FOX Sports' Head of Production & Operations Brad Zager said:

This is a unique opportunity to offer competitive and entertaining racing to our viewers as we all work through these challenging times together. We are following CDC guidelines to maintain a safe work environment, as the well-being of all those involved is paramount. We value our relationships across the NASCAR community and appreciate all of the effort that it took in bringing this project to life.

The iRacing event will take place on the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway with Larry McReynolds, Jeff Gordon, and Mike Joy serving as FOX NASCAR broadcasters. The racing lineup will include Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, and more.