eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series returns for 2021

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The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, featuring top NASCAR Cup Series drivers in virtual racing competition, will return with a 10-race schedule this season.

Events will be held midweek and are designed to preview the upcoming weekend’s “real world” NASCAR race.

The schedule begins March 24 on virtual Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt configuration.

FS1 will broadcast the first five races. NBC Sports will air the final five races. Schedule and details for the NBC portion will be announced later.

The Pro Invitational Series debuted last season after NASCAR paused its racing schedule in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A second virtual series – Saturday Night Thunder – was later created to feature drivers from other NASCAR-sanctioned divisions, including the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

“The success of our eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series was underscored by an industry-wide effort to entertain fans during the early months of the global pandemic,” NASCAR senior vice president and chief digital officer Tim Clark said in a release. “This year, the Pro Invitational will return with a schedule of midweek races that will bridge the gap between our real-world races each weekend.”

“After last year’s Pro Invitational success, we’re proud that our partners … view the series as an integral part of their marketing and fan engagement strategies for 2021,” iRacing executive producer Steve Myers said in the same release.

“It’s even more fulfilling that the industry has rallied around our platform not only as the most authentic re-creation of the sport, but also a terrific tool to help grow NASCAR’s audience and generate revenue to strengthen the entire ecosystem.”

The schedule for the first five Pro Invitational Series races is listed below.