from the "live"-racing? dept.
A few weeks ago, I submitted a story about NASCAR scheduling virtual races in iRacing to provide entertainment for fans during the pandemic. NASCAR's virtual racing series ends this weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway, a track that hasn't hosted a Cup Series race since 1996 and any racing since 2011. North Wilkesboro was one of NASCAR's oldest and most unique tracks, a 0.625 mile short track built on an incline, with an uphill backstretch and downhill frontstretch. The historic track has sat largely abandoned in rural North Carolina since NASCAR left, falling into disrepair and decay. In December, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and many other volunteers cleaned the surface of the race track to allow it to be scanned into iRacing. This 15 minute video shows North Wilkesboro Speedway was cleaned up and describes the laser scanning process used to capture the track surface for iRacing, which is why the story may be of interest for SoylentNews readers. The first race at the virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway is at 3 PM EDT and will be televised on Fox and FS1. For those who cannot watch the race on TV, NASCAR generally streams races on YouTube within a few days of the race.
[Ed. note: More and more people are staying home as a result of quarantines and social distancing. Car customization was the high-tech platform for many years. Then came computers where nerds had a different target for things to tweak and optimize. Car racing has perhaps even more followers today than ever before. Given the technical background and underpinnings, and realizing people may be looking for something to do this weekend, I thought to give this story a try. Are there any Soylentils who have any racing experience? --martyb]
Shortly after the US entry into World War 2, President Roosevelt requested that professional baseball continue to be played during the war because of its importance to maintain the morale of the nation. NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed similar sentiment after the almost complete shutdown of professional sports due to the coronavirus outbreak. Formula 1 and NASCAR are already taking steps to resume, though with virtual races instead of cars physically on track.
Last weekend, iRacing and Podium organized the Replacements 100, which was streamed on multiple platforms including YouTube. The drivers included William Byron, whose success in iRacing helped him find the opportunity to drive real race cars, retired fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., and current cup series drivers Bubba Wallace and Alex Bowman. The race was 100 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which was set to host all three of NASCAR's national series last weekend before being postponed.