NASCAR and sports betting fans have enthusiastically embraced iRacing! With the third race coming up this weekend (click here for the odds on the Food City 500 at Bristol) let’s get you up to speed on how you can bet on the newest iteration of racing!
What is iRacing and how does it work?
iRacing is an online motorsports simulation platform that was created in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer, the co-founder of Papyrus Design Group and John Henry, the majority owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. Now, almost a decade later, iRacing.com has formed several high profile partnerships with NASCAR, IndyCar, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, to name a few.
If you think of iRacing as more of a fun-filled video game experience, think again. It’s more of a simulation that allows everyday Joe’s to register for a race, though there are system requirements you’ll need in order to compete.
“First of all, it is extremely realistic,” current NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer said this week after competing in the first NASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event. “You’re using the same mechanics, the same forces, the same movements as you use in real life to make your car go fast; and that is your hand-eye coordination, 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, and the same tools we use to put your car to the front of the field on any given Sunday.”
“iRacing has been perfected,” Bowyer said. “The production is good. The camera angles are good. I mean, they have their own series, there are serious races each and every week, just like ours does.”
Each driver has a screen, a steering wheel, and pedals. Most drivers utilize crew chiefs to help with tire and fuel strategy just as they would in a real race.
What is the NASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series?
The series was created shortly after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has disrupted life across the globe as we know it. With all three of NASCAR’s racing series on hold, the iRacing series features drivers from its headline MonsterEnergy Cup as well as the Xfinity and Truck platforms.
“Until we have cars back on track, the entire NASCAR community has aligned to provide our passionate fans with a unique, fun and competitive experience on race day,” said NASCAR vice president of racing development Ben Kennedy. “Our long-time partners at iRacing offer an incredible product, and we are excited to see how many of our best drivers will stack up in the virtual domain of competitive racing.”
The NASCAR iRacing series kicked off on Sunday, March 22 with a race at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and it far surpassed expectations as nearly a million viewers (903,000), tuned in for the inaugural race.
“We’re overwhelmed by the positive feedback and encouragement sent by industry stakeholders, drivers, partners, media and most importantly, our fans,’’ said NASCAR senior vice president and chief digital officer. Tim Clark. “We are committed to running these eNASCAR iRacing events as long as necessary.”
While you’re going to see many of the familiar names of some of NASCAR’s best drivers, you shouldn’t be stunned if you’re not consistently seeing their names in the winner’s circle.
“If you think we’re good? We’re terrible,” Clint Bowyer said. “You ought to watch some of these iRacing guys that do this each and every week.”
Current schedule for the eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series through May 3
|Date||Postponed NASCAR Cup race||iRacing race||iRacing winner|
|March 22||Dixie Vodka 400 (Homestead)||Dixie Vodka 125 (Homestead)||Denny Hamlin|
|March 29||O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Texas)||O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 (Texas)||Timmy Hill|
|April 5||Food City 500 (Bristol)||TBD (Bristol)||TBD|
|April 19||Toyota Owners 400 (Richmond)||?||?|
|April 26||Geico 500 (Talladega)||?||?|
|May 3||Cup race at Dover (Dover)||?||?|
The debut NASCAR iRacing event was limited to 35 drivers. The 26 regular Cup Series drivers who entered the race (plus Dale Earnhardt. Jr., Parker Kligerman and Bobby Labonte) were given spots, and the final six spots were given to Xfinity and Trucks Series drivers based on the results of a qualifying race.
Here is a look at some of the notable drivers that will be competing in iRacing.
Drivers with guaranteed spots:
- #1 Kurt Busch
- #3 Austin Dillon
- #6 Ross Chastain
- #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr
- #9 Chase Elliott
- #11 Denny Hamlin
- #12 Ryan Blaney
- #13 Ty Dillon
- #14 Clint Bowyer
- #16 Greg Biffle
- #17 Chris Buescher
- #18 Kyle Busch
The beloved Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been one of the driving forces behind iRacing.
“I would say the force behind it all, and he doesn’t want any recognition, but it would be Dale Jr.,” Bowyer said. “He’s been the voice behind this the whole time. He’s the one that literally each and every night jumps on and runs around and asks people, ‘Hey, do you want to follow me and get the hang of it?’ So many different things. After a race he’s calling and asking if anybody needs any help or what they can do. I would definitely say that Dale Jr. was probably, if anybody deserves credit, it would probably be him.”
Now, here is a look at the odds for this coming weekend’s next NASCAR iRacing event.
Opening odds for Food City 500 at Bristol
- Timmy Hill +450
- William Byron +450
- Garret Smithley +550
- Dale Earnhardt Jr +850
- Ryan Preece +900
- Alex Bowman +1050
- John Hunter Nemechek +1300
- Denny Hamlin +1400
- Parker Kligerman +1500
- Landon Cassill +1800
- Matt DiBenedetto +1800
- Michael McDowell +1800
- Erik Jones +2200
- Bubba Wallace Jr +2500
- Clint Bowyer +2500
- Bobby Labonte +2800
- Chase Elliott +2800
- Kyle Larson +3000
- Kyle Busch +3500
- Ty Dillon +3500
- Ross Chastain +4000