Sunday will see the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series take to the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Well, kind of.
With the NASCAR season on hiatus, the sanctioning body and longtime sim racing partner iRacing.com joined forces on Tuesday to form the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. On Thursday, Fox Sports announced it will air Sunday’s “season opener” at Homestead on its FS1 network, complete with broadcast from the real-life commentary team of Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Larry McReynolds. Rather than the Dixie Vodka 400 in real life, the estimated 90-minute race will be known as the Dixie Vodka 150.
“This is a unique opportunity to offer competitive and entertaining racing to our viewers as we all work through these challenging times together,” Fox Executive Producer and Executive Vice President/Head of Production and Operations Brad Zager stated. “We are following CDC guidelines to maintain a safe work environment, as the well-being of all those involved is paramount. We value our relationships across the NASCAR community and appreciate all of the effort that it took in bringing this project to life.”
A full field will consist of thirty-five drivers, and many have already confirmed their entries for the race. Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, Christopher Bell, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson all revealed their intention to race. Two days later, Cup champion Joey Logano, 2012 champ Brad Keselowski, and Cup Series Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott also joined the field. Bowyer, who also dabbles as an analyst for the network, will serve as Fox’s in-car analyst as he drives in an iRacing simulator at Fox’s studio in Charlotte.
Other Cup drivers participating include Chris Buescher, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin and Ty Dillon, Timmy Hill, Erik Jones, Michael McDowell, John Hunter Nemechek, Ryan Preece, Garrett Smithley, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Bubba Wallace. From the Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series levels, Landon Cassill and Parker Kligerman have also entered.
Bobby Labonte, who most recently raced in the Whelen Euro Series and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame‘s Class of 2020, will also race.