NASCAR iRacing returns this weekend at virtual Richmond Raceway

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UPDATE: NASCAR and iRacing announced Thursday that they will increase the field to 30 drivers for Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series. Two will come from a qualifying race, which has been added (and will be held at 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday – no TV, no streaming) and two provisionals chosen by Fox. Qualifying race will be 25 laps, no yellows  and no resets. Qualifying race is open to all Cup drivers. The feature race will be 150 laps.

After an off weekend, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series gets back on track Sunday at virtual Richmond Raceway.

A smaller field of 26 current and former NASCAR Cup drivers – down from fields of 35 drivers at Homestead and Texas and 32 at Bristol — will take to the .750-mile virtual track in the Toyota Owners 150. Drivers not on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s race include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Landon Cassill, Bobby Labonte, Daniel Suarez, Michael McDowell and the suspended Kyle Larson.

Bubba Wallace, who was criticized for prematurely quitting the race at a virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on April 5, is back in the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s race.

There will be one scheduled reset period for repairs during the 150-lap virtual race, which will be televised on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports App at 1 p.m. ET. Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds will call the action, with Cup regular Clint Bowyer serving as in-race contributor.

Due to the smaller car count, there will be no qualifying races or heat races to set the field for the main event.

Denny Hamlin won the first virtual race on March 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, followed by Timmy Hill (March 29 at Texas Motor Speedway) and William Byron (April 5 at Bristol Motor Speedway).

Sunday’s main event will be preceded a day earlier by the second edition of Saturday Night Thunder.

NASCAR Cup drivers not competing in Sunday’s race, as well as drivers from the Xfinity, Trucks and ARCA series, are among those eligible to take part. All drivers will compete in virtual Xfinity Series cars.

The Saturday Night Thunder race will be televised on NASCAR’s YouTube channel and at 8 p.m. ET.

Here is the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 150:

No. Driver Affiliation
1 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing
2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske
3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing
4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing
6 Ross Chastain Roush Fenway Racing
9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports
11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
12 Ryan Blaney Team Penske
13 Ty Dillon Germain Racing
14 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing
17 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing
18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing
20 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing
21 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing
22 Joey Logano Team Penske
24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports
31 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing
37 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing
38 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports
43 Bubba Wallace Richard Petty Motorsports
48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports
51 Garrett Smithley Invitational
66 Timmy Hill Invitational
77 Parker Kligerman Invitational
88 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports
95 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing

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