On Sunday afternoon, NASCAR, iRacing, and FOX Sports all came together to broadcast the first race of the eNASCAR Pro-Invitational Series at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. At the end of the 100 lap race, Denny Hamlin was victorious. The No. 51 of Garrett Smithley started on pole, but didn’t stay there long as veteran iRacer, William Byron, led the first lap.
Cautions happened, and they happened often. The virtual yellow flag came out a total of nine times. The drivers had two “resets”; giving them the opportunity to repair their car of all damage two times during the race.
The first caution of the race happened on lap two, when the No. 12 of Austin Cindric got loose off of turn-four and hit the No. 33 of Anthony Alfredo, sending him into the inside wall. The second caution flew 12 laps later when the No. 7 of Justin Allgaier went around and collected the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson. Lap 20 brought trouble to Johnson again, he collected the No. 88 of Alex Bowman and a few others in this incident.
The No. 6 of Ross Chastain brought out the fourth caution of the day after contact with Byron in turn-two. Ten laps after the Chastain incident, Kurt Busch wrecked and collected the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin as well as the No. 77 of Parker Kligerman. The sixth caution was drawn on lap 45, when the No. 20 of Erik Jones went spinning with no contact with the safer-barrier.
Lap 59 brought trouble to the No. 9 of Chase Elliott, he was racing alongside the No. 43 of Bubba Wallace when Wallace got tight and slid into the left rear of Elliott’s car. The penultimate caution came out on lap 69, when Byron got into his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Bowman, as well as the No. 8 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. The ninth and final caution of the race came with 23 to go when the No. 14 of Clint Bowyer made contact with the No. 37 of Ryan Preece sending Bowyer into the wall.
Hamlin completed his pass for the lead in the exit of turn-four, passing Earnhardt Jr. to win his 31st iRacing race.
“I didn't think we were going to get back there, especially with 10 [laps] to go, we were just 13th or so and I got bottled up there, and really made the top line work those last few laps to get the win,” said Hamlin in his post-race interview with FOX Sports.