NASCAR, Penn National Gaming Create iRacing Fantasy Offering
Free-to-play fantasy game for eNASCAR
Though race car drivers are by themselves in the car during a race, auto racing involves large teams of people and some of the biggest crowds in any sporting event. Thus, like all other live sports in the U.S., NASCAR has postponed its races because of the coronavirus pandemic. iRacing, however, is alive and well. On Thursday, NASCAR announced that it, along with Penn Interactive, has re-launched its NASCAR Finish Line app to give fans a chance to pick the winners of eNASCAR races for cash prizes.
Penn Interactive is a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, which partnered with NASCAR in February. It was then that NASCAR Finish Line was created, a free-to-play, mobile app that offered no-cost fantasy racing and prop bets for real cash prizes.
With real racing on the shelf, the app now allows users to make their fantasy selections for the weekly eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series.
Combination of prop bets and picking winners
For Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational at Bristol, the process for picking one’s drivers is easy. After creating an account with the Finish Line app, you simply choose one of four drivers in each of six groups. The driver you select does not have to win the race, but rather beat the other three drivers in that group.
Then, at the end, you choose both the overall winner and the runner-up of the race.
Fans who get every one of their picks correct (thus achieving the maximum score of 500 points) win a share of the $5,000 jackpot. If just one person gets them all right, that person wins the entire $5,000.
At least $500 will be distributed in cash prizes, even if nobody wins the jackpot. The player who earns the most points (assuming that person does not accumulate a perfect score) will win $200. The top 100 points earners will win prizes.
Gamblers in Nevada can also place futures bets on the race with William Hill. Timmy Hill is the favorite at 4-1.
iRacing is the closest thing to real racing ever created
iRacing is the most advanced auto racing simulation available on the market today. It is more than just, say, an EA NASCAR game. The developers of the sim laser-scanned dozens of tracks around the world to include every crack and bump and even factor in how the afternoon sun affects the track and, in turn, how the cars handle. The cars, too, are simulated with an extremely accurate physics engine.
iRacing requires a membership to participate. Right now, it only costs $6.50 a month or less, depending on the duration of the subscription.
With live racing gone for the time being, NASCAR drivers have turned to iRacing. There have been two eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitationals so far. The first, at digital Homestead-Miami Speedway, was aired on FS1 on March 22nd and was won by Denny Hamlin. With a TV audience of 903,000, it broke the record for eSports television viewership. Last weekend’s race at virtual Texas Motor Speedway broke that record, drawing 1.3 million viewers on FOX and FS1. The next race is at digital Bristol Motor Speedway on FOX, FS1, and the FOX Sports app at 1:00 pm ET on April 5th.
The racers in these eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitationals are mostly current NASCAR drivers, but some retired and semi-retired racers like Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., participate, along with some of the top names on the iRacing circuit. The rigs they use to race run the gamut from a normal PC and steering wheel on a desk to multi-screen driver’s seat simulators that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Some racers even use virtual reality headsets.
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