• Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 (Round 2)
• Series: eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
• Time/Date: 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 29
• Location: Virtual Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
• Distance: 125 laps (187.5 miles)
Where to Watch:
• FOX network
• Announcers: Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds, with in-race commentary from Clint Bowyer.
• FS1 (DIRECTV Channel 219 and Dish Channel 150)
• FOX Sports Racing for fans in Canada
• The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of actual racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.
• The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series kicked off last Sunday at Homestead and it is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
• With the sports world on a necessary hiatus to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series exists in place of actual NASCAR events.
• Each race in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series consists of 35 drivers and all races are broadcast by FOX Sports.
• Last Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway was the single most-watched esports event in U.S. history. The race drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, besting the previous high of 770,000 viewers when Mortal Kombat aired on The CW in 2016.
• The race was the highest-rated broadcast on FS1 since mass postponements of sporting events began on March 15.
• During the race, the #ProInvitationalSeries was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 96 CommScope Toyota Camry
“I don’t even know what to expect, to be honest. Obviously, I think we’re going to have some fun, but at the same time I’m very competitive and I want to do well. I’ve never done iRacing before, I’ve never had an account before and I really didn’t know much about iRacing. I had an old GT25 simulator that I bought used about 10 years ago to race on the PlayStation. As for iRacing, I have no experience before, but for me, that’s not an excuse. I’ve done a lot on other simulators, like the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) simulator, that might help some. But this is way different, it’s its own animal. iRacing is still very realistic and does an amazing job, but it’s still a game. The simulator we use at TRD, that’s not a game, but a lot of things about what iRacing does is very impressive. I borrowed a rig from Toyota and hopefully I can use it for as many races as I need to. A kid named Eric who’s a professional iRacing guy, he’s been helping me with the things I knew I was going to need help with. He’s been great, and he’s going to be my spotter. The whole point is to have some fun and be competitive and get better and give the fans some excitement, like we saw in the first race last week. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but hopefully we’ll be able to have some fun and keep getting better. Overall, I think it’s good for our sport. It’s one advantage we have against some other sports, that we can do stuff like this. Soccer, basketball, American football, they can’t do it like this. I feel it’s fun. We just have to take it for what it is.”
Daniel Suárez Texas Invitational Notes:
• This will be Suárez’s first start in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and first-ever iRacing event.
• In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing at Texas, Suárez has six career starts with best finishes of third in each of last year’s two races – his only career top-fives and top-10s on the 1.5-mile oval.
• In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Texas, Suárez has five career starts with a best finish of fifth the fall 2016 race en route to that year’s series championship. He had another top-10 finish of sixth in the fall 2015 race.
• Suarez finished second in both 2015 races in his first two career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series at Texas. He added a fifth-place finish in his only other Truck Series start there in the fall 2016 race.