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Fox will broadcast NASCAR’s substitute sim racing ‘season’ on television

Fox and its sibling channel, FS1, are going to broadcast a “season” of virtual races that pit current, past, and the rising stars of NASCAR against each other on the sim racing platform iRacing. The races will air on Sundays at 1PM ET, pretty much the same time slot that NASCAR ran its real-world races before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit. They’ll also be available to watch in the Fox Sports app.

Fox didn’t go into detail about how many races will be held, likely because it’s still unclear how long the real-world season will be suspended. And drivers aren’t racking up points towards the real-world NASCAR championship or taking home big paychecks. It’s just for fun, for now.

This is all happening because the world’s biggest motorsports series are on pause during the pandemic, and so pro drivers have taken to competing in sim racing games like iRacing, rFactor 2, and F1 2019. At the same time, various esports teams, sim racing broadcasters, and real-world crew members helped spin up a handful of special races last week with big NASCAR, F1, and IndyCar stars that drew hundreds of thousands of viewers who suddenly had no real-world racing to watch.

That successful patchwork effort has already inspired more official events. This past weekend, Formula One hosted its first “Virtual Grand Prix,” which featured current driver Lando Norris, former driver Nico Hülkenberg, and a roster of YouTubers and pro sim racers, some of whom compete in F1’s own esports series.

NASCAR went even further. On Sunday, the top stock car series hosted its first virtual “Pro Invitational” race, a 100-lap affair held in iRacing that

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