eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Texas Advance
• Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 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 the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. Texas Motor Speedway serves as the second race of the series. The Pro Invitational Series is designed to emulate emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule from week to week.
• With the sports world on a necessary hiatus to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series exists for the drivers to have a bit of fun until the resumption of their respective series schedules.
• Each race in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series will consist of 35 drivers.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Camry in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series:
How was your first iRacing experience last week?
“It was quite interesting last week. Ty Gibbs offered me up his rig because I did not have one and I was over at his place last weekend running on his rig. I made some phone calls this week to see who had one since I’m hoping after maybe six weeks we can get back to the racetrack and do what we do each week and I won’t really need to have one. So I’m going on the borrowed train right now for my rig.”
Who has been helping you out and what are you using for a rig?
“I got the sim guys over to my house to set one up. Last week, I had to drive 45 minutes over to Ty’s to practice and then 45 minutes back. So now, after we put Brexton (Busch, son) to bed, I can go down there and start working on getting better. Texas seems like it’s going to be a heck of a lot more simple than Homestead was as far as the driving aspect. You just have to hit your marks in turns one and two and get back to the gas and turns three and four, which are going to be wide open. Happy to have Interstate Batteries on board with us this week. They have been a part of iRacing since the beginning with Joe Gibbs Racing, so they’ve been a big supporter of JGR’s regular eNASCAR team. Everyone’s doing it – it’s the hot thing to do – and it was certainly fun to do last weekend to help everyone forget about everything that is happening in the real world. Everyone seems to enjoy it. A lot of guys are getting a little more serious about it and everyone is spending more time, so I figured if I’m going to stop running 30th, I’m going to need to get some more laps (laughing).”
Busch Homestead Invitational Notes:
• This will be Busch’s second ever iRacing start in a virtual NASCAR Cup Series race.
• This is not Interstate Batteries’ first foray into the world of eNASCAR, as the company was the first partner to join Joe Gibbs Racing’s eSports effort last year in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. For 2020, Interstate Batteries is a weekly sponsor on the No. 18 Toyota driven by Graham Bolin in the regular iRacing Series. Not only was Interstate Batteries the founding sponsor of JGR back in 1992, it was the first to join JGR’s iRacing and NASCAR Heat teams beginning in its inaugural season in 2019.
• In addition to Interstate’s extensive involvement in iRacing, Busch’s Rowdy Energy Drinkis a sponsor on the No. 51 Toyota driven by Malik Ray in the weekly eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series for JGR.
• Last weekend, ARCA Menards Series driver Ty Gibbs helped Busch get up to speed in his iRacing rig as Busch had never tried iRacing until practice the day prior to the first iRacing Pro Invitational race last Sunday at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. This week, Busch has had a rig brought to his house and has been busy practicing for Sunday at virtual Texas. William Hartman, Busch’s engineer on his regular No. 18 Toyota Camry Cup Series car, also helped Busch last weekend and will serve as crew chief for this weekend. In addition to Hartman, Busch’s real-life spotter Tony Hirschman is setting up to spot Busch on Sunday from his home in Pennsylvania.
• In actual NASCAR Cup Series racing on the 1.5-mile Texas oval, Busch has three wins, 12 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 28 starts.