One NASCAR track isn’t waiting around for the sport’s governing body to commit to esports.
Richmond Raceway announced Thursday that it will run its own esports program on “NASCAR Heat 2” throughout the 2018 NASCAR season. The project kicks off Jan. 26-27 with a two-day tournament at the facility’s Old Dominion Building, during which fans will get to try Richmond’s new iRacing simulator.
Richmond Raceway eSports will concurrently run with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule from Feb. 11 to Nov. 18. The series will consist of two weekly 40-player online races.
“From our annual esports programming to our enhanced outbound events schedule featuring our Richmond Raceway simulator powered by iRacing, we are all in with digital racing,” Richmond Raceway vice president Mike Waddell said in a statement. “Esports is such a great way for fans of all ages to get a realistic, in-car experience that most every NASCAR team is now using the technology to get an edge. esports is the great equalizer, and in 2018 you truly never know where you may be able to rise if you have the talent.”
The field for the races apparently will be determined at random, with Richmond selecting 39 fans who use the hashtag #RichmondeSports on Twitter. The final spot will be filled by a “VIP guest gamer,” who will wheel the No. 28 Richmond Raceway Toyota.
The announcement from Richmond comes just three days after Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that NASCAR, Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp were working to add “NASCAR Heat 2” and iRacing events to race weekends.
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