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The First eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational: How We Got Here, And Picks To Win

It's been two weeks since I've written anything related to NASCAR, and I'm going out of my mind. This whole Covid-19 virus has disrupted the earth, and in turn, made the sports world ride the pine (that's a baseball reference for sitting on the bench in case you weren't aware). One thing that the virus has made human beings do is stay inside, and with that, we all had to turn to some form of entertainment.

Over these past two weeks, we have seen a huge increase in people playing video games. One game that's popular in the NASCAR community is the NASCAR Heat series for console gamers, but more of the serious gamers turn to an online service called iRacing. iRacing.com is a paid service with simulated racing across the entire racing world featuring multiple series, and race tracks.

Since NASCAR made the call not to race in light of the virus, we have seen two big iRacing events happen. The first was the Replacements 100 presented by Podium eSports that included multiple NASCAR Cup Series drivers, team members, and a handful of popular sim racers and celebrities. NASCAR driver Ryan Vargas partnered with FilterTime, and Podium eSports to put on an eTruck series race last Thursday that was opened to 300 participants, and narrowed down to a field of 40 drivers (which Garage Guys Fantasy Sports sponsored a driver in the running).

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These two races caught the eyes of the entire NASCAR community, which gave NASCAR everything they needed to move forward with the new eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. It wasn't long before Fox Sports announced that they would televise the event on FS1, making this the first-ever iRacing event in history to be aired on network television. In the times we're living in, this is huge for the sport of NASCAR, iRacing, and the fans missing live sports action.

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Driver Picks To Win

Although the full 35 Car lineup will be announced on Sunday, most of the drivers are very familiar faces from the NASCAR Cup Series, and NASCAR Xfinity series. This race will be the closest thing we will have to a real race, but dont expect most of the star drivers to be the top dogs in iRacing. Before I tell you my four guys that I think will win, check out Denny Hamlin's odds on the race.

William Byron

Byron started his racing career LITERALLY racing on a computer. It's a no brainer that I'm picking him to win at virtual Homestead, and even Dale Earnhardt Jr (who is also racing in this race) has picked him to be the victor. Byron has an iRating of 5694 (which is damn good, and it should be) and finished second in the Replacements 100 last Sunday in virtual Atlanta.

Ty Majeski

Majeski currently races in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, and has basically mastered iRacing on a single screen laptop (most of these cup racers use simulator rigs). Majeski's iRating is 10,742, and is the best on the entire server! This alone lets me know that he seriously could give Byron, and the other big-name drivers a run for their money.

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin has been racing in the Cup Series for quite some time now, but what most dont know is that he's actually an OG iRacer too. With an iRating of 4016, Hamlin could easily get out there and burn rubber all over the field. Look for him to at least finish in the Top 5 if he doesn't bag the victory.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. did pretty well in last week's Replacements 100. I didn't know it at the time, but Earnhardt Jr. actually has an iRating of 3815, and an iRating of 7683 on his second account. That, plus his racing last Sunday gives me everything I need to make a confident bet on the guy, plus it's just badass to see Earnhardt Jr. racing again in some way shape or form.

 

If you have any additional questions on iRacing, or this race, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @GarageGuyChase, and tune in to the race Sunday at 1PM ET on FS1!

For any and all fantasy NASCAR questions, find me on Twitter @GarageGuyChase and subscribe to the Garage Guys Fantasy Sports Podcast for Fantasy NASCAR and Fantasy Football talk. Good luck RotoBallers!

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