2020 NASCAR irAcing

William Byron captured the virtual checkered flag Sunday to win the 2020 NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The series features NASCAR stars of past and present competing in video game races from their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic. The idea has quickly become a smash hit during period with almost no live sporting events on television, including 1.3 million viewers for last week's Texas Motor Speedway race.

Tensions ran high almost immediately in the main event, which followed two qualifying heats, because of a wreck between Clint Bowyer and Bubba Wallace.

Bowyer appeared to close out Wallace trying to make a move on the outside and blamed the Cup Series rising star for being too aggressive early on the Fox broadcast.

Byron took the lead with 44 laps remaining and survived the final five laps after the final restart to pick up the victory. John Hunter Nemechek finished second.

As a whole, it's amazing how far the virtual world of racing has advanced. The video game version of Bristol looks nearly identical to its real-world counterpart in Tennessee, and the need for actual in-race tactics has come a long way from the early NASCAR video games.

The level of competition has also started to rise over the past three weeks as drivers continue to learn and their competitive fire begins to show through.

Meanwhile, the 2020 NASCAR season remains delayed through at least May 3 because of COVID-19.


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