eSportsNASCAR Cup SeriesSim Racing

eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series’ 2021 second half cancelled

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Credit: iRacing/NASCAR

The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, a Cup Series driver-featured sim racing production, has been discontinued for the rest of 2021. Five races were run during the first half of the season under Fox Sports broadcast, but the league was not picked up as NBC took over coverage.

The PIS was formed during in spring 2020 as the racing world was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring Cup drivers and other real-life competitors on iRacing, the PIS proved to be a hit as it provided fans with a sense of normalcy even in difficult times. For 2021, Fox aired five races that took place in the weeks leading up to races at major events like Talladega and Darlington, new tracks to the actual calendar such as Bristol Dirt and Circuit of the Americas, and a fictional street circuit in Chicago. The Darlington race also marked the sim racing d├ębut of the 2022-bound Next Gen car, which had been revealed earlier in the day.

Although NBC Sports was initially expected to continue the series upon assuming broadcast duties for the second half, a schedule for the network was never provided. On Friday, NASCAR confirmed the series would not return for the rest of the year. Such a decision was spurred as ratings and interest declined in response to the world reopening. Nevertheless, NASCAR has not ruled out the possibility of reviving the PIS for special occasions.

While a formal championship was never kept, James Davison would have mathematically won the 2021 title if one existed. Davison was the only driver to have multiple wins with victories at COTA and Chicago. William Byron, Brad Keselowski, and Erik Jones respectively won at Bristol, Talladega, and Darlington; Keselowski would also win the real-life Talladega event.

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