The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has drawn drivers and fans alike to the iRacing platform over the last week to get their racing fix. That excitement has led to a new and already popular event created by NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Vargas.
The event, eTruck Series Night in America Powered by FliterTime.com, will take place Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET at the virtual Atlanta Motor Speedway. A live broadcast of the race will be available for free on both Speed51.com and Podium eSports.
eTruck Series Night in America came to fruition after Vargas posed a question on Twitter last Friday asking his followers if they would be interested in participating in a hosted race on iRacing. Several professional stock car drivers and sim racers threw their names into the ring for Thursday’s 100-lap main event.
There are currently 23 Trucks pre-entered for Thursday’s main event, including Parker Kligerman, Christian Eckes, Ty Gibbs, and four-time NASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Champion Ray Alfalla. The final 20 spots for Thursday’s race will be decided in a series of open races on Wednesday, with an astounding 300 drivers having entered.
For Vargas, he never thought a simple question would lead to an event of this magnitude.
“It all honestly started because of a tweet I sent out as a half-joke, but it started to circulate around the industry and folks from the eSports realm, NASCAR and the fans all seemed to really enjoy the idea,” Vargas explained. “I got in contact with my buddies Jon Palmieri and Austin Blair and with the help of Podium eSports, it all came together pretty smoothly. I wanted to make sure that all had a chance to compete and the format we came up with I feel is the most honest and even way to set the field. To have such a diverse field is insane, and I’m so blessed to have the support of so many people. I’m ready to get this show going.”
“We are thrilled to be hosting eTruck Series Night in America on iRacing,” said Steve Myers, Executive Vice President of iRacing. “We’re happy to be able to provide an outlet for racers and fans to enjoy motorsports during this tough time in our country. It will be intriguing to watch the field of 300 drivers narrow down to 20 on Wednesday before battling the professionals Thursday night.”
“We’re excited to be working with Ryan Vargas and Speed51 to bring eTruck Series Night in America to the masses,” said Podium eSports CEO James Pike. “Ryan has built up a unique and colorful following of fans throughout his career and we expect Thursday’s broadcast to reflect the energy that he brings to the track week in and week out.”
All proceeds generated from the event will benefit a pair of charities – FACES and Cranio Care Bears.
FACES is a non-profit organization serving children and adults throughout the United States with severe craniofacial differences resulting from birth defects, injuries, or disease. There is never a charge for any service provided by FACES. Click here to learn more about FACES: http://faces-cranio.org/
Cranio Care Bears is a non-profit that supports families of children with craniosynostosis who are facing surgery by distributing care packages. Click here to learn more about Cranio Care Bears: https://craniocarebears.org/
Carolina Sim Worx and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway will also be donating $100 each for a charity of the winner’s choice. In addition, WWT Raceway will provide four tickets to the winner and to the highest-finishing open driver in the race. If an open driver wins the race, the driver will also get to ride in the pace car on the day of the NTT IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Saturday, August 22.
A star-studded booth will also be on hand to call the action. Podium eSports head announcer James Pike will be joined by ARCA Menards Series driver Hailie Deegan, short track racing journalist Jacob Seelman and NASCAR Roots reporter Davey Segal to call all the action.
Catch the eTruck Series Night in America Powered by FliterTime.com live for free on Speed51 Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET.
For more eSports news, follow @s51eSports on Twitter.
To view the complete sim racing broadcast schedule on Speed51, click here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3