NASCAR Fans Turn to iRacing

I have been a NASCAR fan my entire life. In addition, I’m a huge fan of other spring sports such as college basketball and baseball. Therefore, the lack of cars on track, as well as empty courts and fields, brings about a very uneasy feeling. 

The need for “social distancing” is completely understandable in these uncertain days. But it goes without saying, it is a very tough time for sports junkies like myself! 

With that being said, when I heard many NASCAR drivers would be tackling Atlanta Motor Speedway via iRacing, I immediately signed up for a Twitch account to catch the action.

 

The Replacements 100

The field included past and present drivers from the top three series of NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ben Rhodes, Bubba Wallace, and Justin Allgaier, were just a few recognizable names. 

No doubt, many drivers were hoping to stand out on Sunday during the iRacing Replacements 100. (Screenshot provided by Terra Jones / The Podium Finish.)

Additionally, there were crew chiefs, car chiefs, musicians, NFL athletes, and more rounding out the 35 car field. 

William Byron claimed the pole for the 100 lap, Sunday afternoon race. Josh Williams, Cup Series spotter for No. 12 Ryan Blaney, rounded out the front row. 

Throughout the wreck-filled first half, there was a great deal of shuffling. However, drivers were barely able to gain ground before another caution brought the field together again. 

Fortunately, the second half of the race provided longer, green flag runs, allowing racers to dig in and find a rhythm. 

In the closing laps, Williams claimed a commanding lead over Byron and came out the winner. 

 

Rookie Thoughts

After applying my rookie stripes, I took some time to figure out what exactly happens with iRacing. Seeing numerous racers share their setups via social media was incredibly eye-opening. In addition, learning the price tags attached to these machines was another shocker.

Once the green flag dropped on the race, it took me about 16 laps to look past the digital aspect of the layout and truly get into the race. Early on, I caught myself reacting to the wrecks almost as I would if I were watching “in real life.”

About halfway through the race, I realized how engrossed with the action and the detail I had become.

As the viewership rose to over 22,000, it was entertaining to have NASCAR media members Bob Pockrass and Jeff Gluck among those watching. 

The fact that the race broadcasters took a moment pre-race to acknowledge the first-timers tuning in and to explain a bit about the series, set-ups, and more was much appreciated.

iRacing broadcasters prepare fans for The Replacements 100. (Screenshot provided by Terra Jones / The Podium Finish.)

In this unexpected season of no live sports, as well as our family schedule being cleared a bit more, I look forward to having the opportunity to tune in more frequently.

However short or long-lived this break in live sports may be, I hope to find an iRacing driver to pull for. I know from experience in learning about other forms of motorsports, this is one of the best ways to learn more about the sport and gain a vested interest.

 

We at The Podium Finish would love to hear from our readers. Did you tune in to The Replacements 100 on Sunday afternoon? Are you an iRacing Series regular? If it was your first time watching, what were your thoughts?

 

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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