2020 - INDYCAR iRacing Challenge



SPOTTER GUIDE - First Responder 175 presented by GMR

STARTING LINEUP - First Responder 175 presented by GMR

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‘5 Things To Look For …’ heading into the First Responder 175 presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Entry List | Spotter Guide | Starting Lineup

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and special guests, concludes Saturday, May 2 with the First Responder 175 presented by GMR beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

The 70-lap event, which will last approximately 70 minutes, will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy and Marty Snider will call the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by the Indianapolis Fire Department’s Voices of IFD singing the national anthem and New York City first responders giving the command to start engines.

The entry list of 33 drivers includes series champions Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan, eight Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 244 series victories.

2019 Formula One rookie standout Lando Norris is making his second INDYCAR iRacing Challenge start this week after winning his debut April 25 at Circuit of The Americas.

Here are "5 Things To Look For..." heading into Saturday's First Responder 175 presented by GMR:

‘Carpenter’s Helping Hand’

Ed Carpenter Racing owner-driver Ed Carpenter will compete Saturday in his No. 20 Chevrolet with a special paint scheme featuring the Riley Children’s Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole sitter Carpenter’s livery will help raise awareness for the Riley Relief Fund, which directly supports patient families financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carpenter and his family are longtime supporters of Indiana’s only comprehensive children’s hospital. He also will continue his support virtually Tuesday, May 5 through Giving Tuesday Now, a worldwide day of giving to bring awareness to nonprofits raising funds during the COVID-19 crisis.

‘Mixed Emotions for TK’

Tony Kanaan was supposed to make the first start of his TK Last Lap tour in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – a five-race partial season, all on ovals, with A.J. Foyt Racing – in the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24 before that race was postponed until Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, 2013 “500” winner Kanaan perhaps has one of the tougher mental adjustments to make to not racing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval during May for the first time since he made his Indy debut in 2002. But he is taking some solace in competing in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR on Saturday at the virtual IMS.

“Obviously, I’m excited,” Kanaan said. “I think it's a mixed feeling because I woke up today, today is May 1st, I looked at my calendar. Somebody just texted me today, ‘What was the worst investment you made in 2020?’ I said I think it was my calendar planner. I looked, we have it in the office, in two days I was going to be doing the Indy half-marathon.

“I'm ready to go do the real thing. It will be exciting. It will be something for us to do at least to represent a little bit the month of May this weekend.”

‘True Rookies’

Only three of the 33 drivers in the field for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR have no career starts on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval – Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, Formula One standout Lando Norris and NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Alex Palou.

The other 30 drivers in the field have at least one career start in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race or the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race on the IMS oval.

Palou could be a dark horse for a surprise victory Saturday. He won a practice race Thursday in the No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda, continuing a strong performance for the entire INDYCAR iRacing Challenge for the Spaniard. Palou finished fourth on April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park, led four laps and finished 10th on April 11 at Michigan and led a lap and finished ninth last Saturday at Circuit of The Americas.

‘Kimball Hosting Trivia Contest for Charity’

Veteran NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Charlie Kimball is co-hosting an INDYCAR-themed virtual trivia challenge Saturday evening, May 2 to raise funds for the IU Health Foundation.

A.J. Foyt Racing driver Kimball and Indianapolis-area trivia company owner Matt “Hambone” Hammond will co-host “Hambone’s Virtual Trivia,” which starts at 8:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday. All questions and answers have been vetted for accuracy by IMS Historian Donald Davidson, and celebrity guests A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti will read some of the questions.

The event is open to the public but limited to 500 teams of any size. The cost per team is $33, with a portion of proceeds being donated to the IU Health Foundation, which works through philanthropy to improve Indiana residents’ health.

Teams can sign up at hambonestrivia.com/weeklytrivia. Registered teams will be sent a private YouTube link where they can see and participate in the virtual contest.

‘More Virtual Racing for Road to Indy’

The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the ladder series of INDYCAR, will begin a second virtual series – the TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires – on Wednesday, May 6, beginning with World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The five-round series will feature three ovals and two road courses, and all registration fees will be donated to the UN’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The races will continue to be streamed live on Road to Indy website and app, ApexRacingTV's YouTube and Facebook, the iRacing eSports Network, the series' respective Facebook platforms and Cooper Tires' Facebook page.

Indy Pro 2000 driver Phillippe Denes scored the championship victory in the first five-race series, with Eduardo Barrichello second and 2018 USF2000 champion Braden Eves third.







Month of May opens with INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale on IMS oval

The Month of May will begin and the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will end on the most famous start-finish line in global motorsports – the Yard of Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The last of six rounds of the virtual racing series, the First Responder 175 presented by GMR, will start at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, May 2 and be televised live on NBCSN. The 70-lap, 175-mile race will take place on the world-renowned 2.5-mile oval at IMS, home of the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. That race was scheduled for Sunday, May 24 but postponed to Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 33-driver field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and competitors from other global racing series – just as in the Indianapolis 500 – will take the green flag in the virtual race using the iRacing platform.

Entry List: First Responder 175 presented by GMR

In an example of the virtual world mirroring the real world, Simon Pagenaud may be the driver to beat this Saturday at the Racing Capital of the World.

Pagenaud won the biggest race in the world in 2019 – the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – and also has won the two previous oval races in the virtual series that started March 28 after the start of the actual NTT INDYCAR SERIES was delayed by the global health crisis.

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud proved in his two INDYCAR iRacing Challenge victories that he can win in almost any scenario.

Pagenaud triumphed with strategy and fuel mileage in the Chevrolet 275 on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway, winning by 13.4059 seconds in the No. 22 DXC Team Penske Chevrolet. One week later, he held off five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon by .3429 of a second after a spellbinding duel to win the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power also should be a main contender to finally enter Victory Lane in the final round of the series. Power has finished in the top six in all five rounds so far in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, including a best of second April 4 on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park.

2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Power led 74 of 198 laps contested on ovals so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, more than any other driver. Power’s best oval finish was third April 18 at Twin Ring Motegi, an event in which he appeared to be headed for his first victory until the nearly lapped car driven by Oliver Askew collided with him with nine laps remaining. Power led a race-high 61 laps at Motegi.

Another Team Penske driver, Scott McLaughlin, is a fellow hard-luck case on ovals. Two-time reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin dueled with Power for the lead at Motegi when he was collected and eliminated in the incident between Power and Askew.

McLaughlin’s best finish so far on an oval was second, behind Pagenaud, at Michigan in the No. 2 Snap-on Team Penske entry.

Sage Karam is another driver who should contend for victory Saturday in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR despite tough luck on ovals. NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Karam led a race-high 49 laps at Michigan but finished 14th in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet. Experienced sim racer Karam led five laps at Motegi and finished seventh.

It also will be interesting to how the differing learning curves of Dixon and rising Formula One star Lando Norris convert to results Saturday at IMS.

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Dixon has vast experience at the real IMS, with 17 career starts in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But he had almost no sim racing experience before the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge yet nearly beat experienced sim racer Pagenaud for victory on the last oval event, at Motegi, in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Dixon still led 13 laps at Motegi despite his inexperience in virtual racing. So, he must be considered a contender for victory at Indy, where he has led 452 laps, tops among active competitors and ninth all-time.

Norris, 20, has been sim racing for more than a decade and competes regularly in the virtual world as a member of the elite Team Redline when he’s not racing around the world in F1 for McLaren.

He showed that skill and speed by blitzing the field in his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut April 25 on the road course at COTA, winning by 1.445 seconds over Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward despite a spin early in the race. But Norris lacks the real and virtual oval racing experience of most of his rivals, so can he carry the speed he showed on the right and left turns of COTA to left turns only at Indy?

Indianapolis 500 winners Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves haven’t enjoyed much success so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, but they will be among the favorites to enter Victory Circle at IMS if real-world results translate to the virtual world.

2013 Indy winner Kanaan has a best finish of 18th at Michigan in the two oval races in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet, while three-time Indy winner Castroneves finished 29th in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet at Motegi in his only start so far in the series. But Kanaan has led 346 laps on the IMS oval in his 18 Indy 500 starts, while Castroneves has been out front for 305 laps in his 19 “500” starts.

The fuel window for this 70-lap race is approximately 30 to 35 laps, so strategy could play a big role. Brave drivers and strategists could gamble on enough fuel savings and extended caution laps to reach the checkered flag in one stop, while others may play it safe and benefit from the fresher tires gained from a second stop.

A 15-minute qualifying session Friday will set the starting lineup for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.




Event #4: The Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi

SPOTTER GUIDE - AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas


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‘5 Things To Look For …’ heading into AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas

Entry List | Spotter Guide

INDIANAPOLIS (April 24, 2020) – The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and special guests, continues Saturday, April 25 with the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET at Circuit of the Americas.

The 32-lap event, which will last approximately 70 minutes, will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy and Marty Snider will call the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by singer-songwriter Cory Morrow and his wife, Sherry Morrow, singing the national anthem and Texas-born country music artist Jack Ingram giving the command to start engines.

The entry list of 33 drivers includes series champions Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan, seven Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 212 series victories.

2019 Formula One rookie standout Lando Norris is making his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut this week, along with Virgin Australia Supercars race winner Chaz Mostert and 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion Spencer Pigot.

The AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge is the fifth of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. After this event, the remaining race (May 2) is at a venue to be named.

Here are "5 Things To Look For..." heading into Saturday's AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge:

‘Racing for a Cause’

Alexander Rossi and Jack Harvey both will feature pink liveries on their Honda-powered cars Saturday in the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge as part of AutoNation’s DRV PNK campaign.

AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer, has raised more than $23 million for cancer-related causes through the DRV PNK campaign.

2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi will feature this pink livery on his No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport during part of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, while Harvey will race with the pink livery for the entire season in his No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda fielded by Meyer Shank Racing.

Rossi, Harvey and 2012 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay each have recorded video messages to promote the DRV PNK campaign that will be featured during the live NBCSN telecast of the race Saturday.

‘Flipping the Switch’

A variety of racing series around the world are contesting virtual events for their full-time drivers, with a few special guests mixed in. The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge is no different, as NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers have welcomed guests such as NASCAR legends Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch to the series, along with Virgin Australia Supercars standouts Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert and Formula One star Lando Norris.

The switch will be flipped when 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Alexander Rossi will compete as a wild-card entry in the Supercars All Stars Eseries.

Rossi will start in the Supercars All Stars Eseries starting in Round 4 from 5-7 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, April 29, which will consist of races at Watkins Glen and Montreal, two circuits Rossi knows well. He will serve as a teammate to Mostert and Bryce Fullwood, who drive for Walkinshaw Andretti United in Virgin Australia Supercars.

Mostert never has raced in a Indy car as he prepares to make his virtual INDYCAR debut this Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas. But Rossi has real-life experience in a 650-horsepower full-bodied Supercar, having competed in the 2019 Bathurst 1000 with Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe.

Fans outside of Australia can watch Rossi race with stars from Down Under on Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Facebook page or Supercars’ stream on Twitch.

‘I Know that Dude’

McLaren Formula One driver Lando Norris will make his INDYCAR debut – virtual or real world – in the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge this Saturday, driving the No. 04 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara.

But Norris, 20, will be familiar with one driver in the field – Colton Herta of Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport.

Norris and Herta raced against each other as teammates for Carlin in British MSA Formula Championship (also known as Formula 4) in 2015. Englishman Norris won the championship with eight victories, while American Herta, 20, finished third with four victories.

Both advanced to the elite level in 2019 while still in their teens. Norris made his F1 debut at age 19 last season for McLaren, finishing 11th in the World Championship standings. Herta debuted in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at age 18, taking the checkered flag at COTA to become the youngest winner in series history.

“From my side of it, I'm excited,” Norris said. “I really had some warning messages coming in from Colton's side. I don't know if I should read them out or not (laughter).

“It's been a while since he raced in F4 back in the day. We had some really good times. Yeah, we have a lot of respect for each other. I don't want to sound like I'm talking like a guy with loads of experience, but looks like he's matured in quite a way, as I think I have in some ways. It looks like he's become an even better driver than what he was, and he was freaking fast when I was racing against him. He was nicknamed Hooligan Herta for many reasons.”

‘Working the Night Shift’

Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert are both stars in Virgin Australia Supercars, the most popular domestic series in Australia. So, they both face the additional challenge of acclimating to a different car and different rivals in the virtual world compared to the real world.

But that’s not the only hurdle they face.

New Zealand native McLaughlin and Australian Mostert both live on the east coast of Australia, in a time zone 14 hours ahead of Eastern time in the United States. So, they both will take the green flag for the AutoNation iRacing Challenge at approximately 4:40 a.m. local time after spending earlier hours in practice and qualifying.

Working the night shift hasn’t hurt McLaughlin. He won the second round of the series, April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park, in his Team Penske entry and finished fourth at the other road race, March 28 at Watkins Glen.

‘Road to Indy Virtual Race’

The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the ladder series of INDYCAR, will conclude the five-round Ricmotech Road to Indy iRacing eSeries at 12:45 p.m. ET Saturday from virtual Mid-Ohio, less than two hours before the start of the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge.

A field of 38 drivers from the Road to Indy will attempt to qualify for 28 spots in the race, which will be streamed live on Road to Indy website and app, ApexRacingTV’s YouTube and Facebook, the iRacing eSports Network, the series’ respective Facebook platforms, and Cooper Tires’ Facebook page.

Indy Pro 2000 Championship regular Phillippe Denes holds a 19-point advantage over USF2000 Championship driver Eduardo Barrichello, son of Formula One and Indianapolis 500 veteran Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello ended Denes’ eSeries win streak and tightened the points battle by grabbing victory in a wild race at Road America last weekend.




INDYCAR iRacing Challenge Hits The Road For Round 5

Virtual racing series heads to COTA Saturday on NBCSN; F1 standout Norris joins field

With just two rounds remaining, it’s time to find out who is the true king of the virtual INDYCAR road.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge returns to a natural road course after two consecutive oval races with the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 25 at virtual Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The 32-lap race on the 20-turn, 3.427-mile circuit at COTA, located in Austin, Texas, will be televised live on NBCSN.

A 33-driver field will take the green flag in Round 5 of the six-round series featuring NTT INDYCAR SERIES stars and special guest drivers. COTA was scheduled to host an NTT INDYCAR SERIES round Sunday, April 26, an event canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry List: The AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas

Two new faces from outside the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be among the bumper crop of talented drivers in the field Saturday.

Englishman Lando Norris will drive the No. 04 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara. Norris finished 11th in the Formula One World Championship standings last season for McLaren and is returning for a second season with the iconic F1 team. Rising star Norris, 20, is an avid sim racer and one of the most popular and engaging F1 drivers on social media.

Australian Chaz Mostert will drive the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Dallara for Andretti Herta with Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian, racing from his home in Australia in darkness during the early hours of morning. 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner Mostert, 28, has 13 career victories in Virgin Australia Supercars and drives in that series for Walkinshaw Andretti United.

Norris and Mostert will try to solve the same puzzle as nearly every other driver in the series: How to stop Simon Pagenaud?

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud won the last two rounds, on ovals at Michigan International Speedway on April 11 and at Twin Ring Motegi on April 18. He isn’t too shabby on road courses, either, finishing sixth in the series opener March 28 at Watkins Glen and fifth April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Pagenaud again will be one of the favorites to win Saturday in the No. 22 Snap-on Team Penske Chevrolet.

Mostert also could become the latest native of Australia or New Zealand to make headlines in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power has been a steady presence on or near the podium for all four rounds. Australian Power has finished third, second, fourth and third, respectively, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and veteran sim racer Power appeared to be headed for his first victory in the series last Saturday at Motegi before he was entangled in a late-race collision. Could this be the week he finally stands atop the podium? He won the pole for the inaugural NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at COTA in March 2019, and his sim racing speed has proven to be just as quick as in the real world.

Two-time reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has been the revelation of this series. New Zealand native McLaughlin was impressive during actual preseason testing for Team Penske and was scheduled to make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut May 9 in the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before that event was postponed to July 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLaughlin has been an ace on road courses in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, finishing fourth at Watkins Glen and winning at Barber. Like Mostert, McLaughlin once again will race in the middle of the night from his home in Australia in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Dallara.

Five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon is another driver emerging as a standout in this series. New Zealander Dixon finished a strong second to Pagenaud last Saturday on the Motegi oval after finishing 16th and 30th in his first two starts in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Unlike many of his rivals, 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Dixon had little to no sim racing experience before joining the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge for Round 2 at Barber. But he has shown the same quick adaptation skills and speed in the virtual world that he has for nearly 20 years in INDYCAR competition.

Among drivers from other parts of the world, American Sage Karam also should be a contender for victory. Veteran sim racer Karam won the opening round of the series at Watkins Glen in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet and has led 67 of the 90 laps so far on road courses.

A glance at the past also could pinpoint two contenders for victory Saturday.

Colton Herta made global motorsports headlines in March 2019 by winning the inaugural INDYCAR race at COTA, becoming the youngest winner in series history, at age 18. Herta, now 20, will drive the No. 88 Capstone Honda on Saturday.

Oliver Askew swept both Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires rounds last February at COTA en route to the series title. Askew will race his rookie season this year in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Arrow McLaren SP and will line up on the virtual grid at COTA in the team’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

Another Indy Lights champion, 2015 title winner Spencer Pigot, will make his series debut in the No. 45 Mi-Jack/EMBRACE Pittsburgh RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda.

The fuel window for this 32-lap race is approximately 15 to 16 laps. But it should be a one-stop race due to a competition caution period on Lap 12, a feature carried over from Round 2 on the road course at Barber that bunched the field and increased and intensified the wheel-to-wheel action.

A 10-minute qualifying session will set the starting lineup prior to the event.

One race remains in the six-round series after Saturday, a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track May 2. The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.




Event #4: The Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi

SPOTTER GUIDE - Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi


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‘5 Things To Look For …’ heading into Firestone 175

Entry List | Spotter Guide

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, continues Saturday, April 18 with the Firestone 175 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET at Twin Ring Motegi.

The 113-lap event, which will last approximately 75 minutes, will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy and Marty Snider will call the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by Big Machine Records country music star Carly Pearce singing the national anthem and global motorsports legend Mario Andretti giving the command to start engines. 

The entry list of 33 drivers – the largest so far – includes series champions Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan, eight Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 244 series victories.

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and two-time Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner Kyle Busch is making his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge this week.

The Firestone 175 is the fourth of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. After this event, remaining venues include Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track (May 2).

Here are "5 Things To Look For..." heading into Saturday's Firestone 175:

‘Remembering Hank’

Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport driver Colton Herta will compete in the Firestone 175 with a special livery paying tribute to New York Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday at age 63. Steinbrenner is the father of Andretti Harding Steinbrenner team principal George Steinbrenner IV.

The livery of the No. 88 Capstone Honda, developed by Capstone Turbine and the Steinbrenner family, features the famed Yankee pinstripes and a logo featuring the initials “HS” in two locations. All six Andretti cars in the race Saturday will feature the “HS” logo decals.

“It’s been a tough week for the whole Andretti Harding Steinbrenner team with the passing of Hank Steinbrenner,” Herta said. “Hank wanted to carry the Yankee tradition of winning into racing, and I’m really proud to be able to help honor him this weekend with our pin-striped Capstone livery as a tribute. We’ll be racing with heavy hearts and hoping for a great result to honor his name.”

‘Vintage TK’

2013 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Tony Kanaan will have a familiar, classic look to his No. 14 Chevrolet fielded by A.J. Foyt Enterprises this Saturday in the Firestone 175, racing with the green, white, orange and red colors of longtime sponsor 7-Eleven.

Kanaan became synonymous with the 7-Eleven colors during his tenure with Andretti Autosport, highlighted by capturing the 2004 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship. Kanaan completed all 3,305 laps of competition that season, with three victories and 15 top-five finishes.

‘Taku Comes Home’

2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato couldn’t have picked a more fitting track than Twin Ring Motegi to make his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut Saturday.

Sato is a native of Tokyo and beloved by Honda and the Japanese public due to his longtime affiliation with the iconic Japanese company. Sato raced exclusively with Honda power during his entire Formula One career, from 2002-08, and also in INDYCAR since his arrival in 2010.

His best finish in two NTT INDYCAR SERIES starts at Twin Ring Motegi was 10th in 2011, the last year the series raced at the 1.52-mile oval.

‘Carpenter Skates to New Number’

Three-time Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter will make his third start in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on Saturday in the Firestone 175, but he will race with yet another new number.

Carpenter is carrying No. 50 on his Direct Supply Chevrolet, ceding the No. 21 he used in his first two starts – at Barber Motorsports Park and Michigan International Speedway – to Ed Carpenter Racing teammate Rinus VeeKay, making his series debut. Carpenter competes in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in car No. 20, but he gave that number to teammate Conor Daly for the virtual series debut March 28 at Watkins Glen since Carpenter didn’t run that race.

Owner-driver Carpenter picked No. 50 for Twin Ring Motegi because his son Ryder wears that number for his youth hockey team in Indianapolis.

Both of Carpenter’s sons are avid youth hockey players, and Cruz Carpenter honors his father by wearing No. 20 on the ice. Daly already has that number for the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, so proud hockey dad Carpenter picked Ryder’s No. 50 for his car this Saturday.

‘Road to Indy Virtual Race’

Virtual racing for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the ladder series of INDYCAR, continues Saturday with Round 4 of the Ricmotech Road to Indy Racing eSeries at 12:45 p.m. ET Saturday from virtual Road America, less than two hours before the start of the Firestone 175 for the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

A field of 37 drivers from the Road to Indy will attempt to qualify for 28 spots in the race, which will be streamed live on Road to Indy website and app, ApexRacingTV’s YouTube, the iRacing eSports Network, the series’ respective Facebook platforms, and Cooper Tires’ Facebook page.

Indy Pro 2000 Championship regular Phillippe Denes is dominating the eSeries after winning all three rounds. USF2000 Championship driver Eduardo Barrichello, son of Formula One and Indianapolis 500 veteran Rubens Barrichello, is second in the standings.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America's premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world's most versatile drivers - including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud - who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from March to September, currently consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge held annually in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

ABOUT iRacing.com:

The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including "Grand Prix Legends" and NASCAR 2003." Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR's Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, World of Outlaws, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, the Skip Barber Racing School and General Motors.




Castroneves, Sato, Busch join INDYCAR iRacing Challenge for Motegi

As the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge leaves the United States for the first time Saturday, April 18, three fan favorites of American motorsports who are new to the virtual racing series are coming along for the ride.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, 2017 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Takuma Sato and two-time reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will make their respective series debuts in the Firestone 175 on the 1.549-mile oval at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan.

The fourth of six rounds in the series featuring NTT INDYCAR SERIES stars and special guest drivers will be the second straight event on an oval, with a series-high field of 33 drivers ready to race for 113 laps on the tricky, asymmetrical oval that hosted INDYCAR races from 1998-2011. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBCSN.

Entry List: Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi

Castroneves joins the series in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet with a certain distinction besides having his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy three times, more than any other driver in the field. He is one of three drivers in the Firestone 175 who has won at Twin Ring Motegi in NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition, capturing victories there in 2006 and 2010 for Team Penske.

Other Motegi race winners competing Saturday are Scott Dixon in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda (2009 and 2011 Motegi winner) and Tony Kanaan in the No. 14 7-Eleven Chevrolet (2007 Motegi winner).

2017 “500” winner Sato will make his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut in the No. 30 Panasonic/Keihin Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. While this is Sato’s first race in this series, he knows Twin Ring Motegi well. Japanese native Sato has two career NTT INDYCAR SERIES starts at the track, in 2010 and 2011, and he also has visited the actual circuit for the annual Honda Thanks Day every year since his 2017 Indy victory.

The addition of Castroneves and Sato increases the number of Indianapolis 500 winners in the Firestone 175 field to eight, along with Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Alexander Rossi.

Two-time Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner Busch is the latest NASCAR star to join the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. He will drive the No. 51 Rowdy Energy Dallara as the lone NASCAR representative at Motegi in his INDYCAR debut, virtual or real.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson raced in the first two rounds, on March 28 at Watkins Glen International and April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park. Two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third April 11 in the first oval race of the series, at Michigan International Speedway.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Rinus VeeKay is the fourth newcomer to the series in the Motegi field. He will drive the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing.

All newcomers – and most of the rest of the field – will have their eyes on the Team Penske trio of Scott McLaughlin, Power and Pagenaud.

Two-time and reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin, from New Zealand, has the best overall record in the series in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Dallara, finishing fourth at Watkins Glen, winning at Barber and placing second at Michigan. Veteran sim racer McLaughlin has produced this impressive record despite competing in series races during the middle of the night in Australia, where he lives.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Power is just behind McLaughlin in terms of strike rate. Another experienced sim racer, he has finished third at Watkins Glen, second at Barber and fourth at Michigan in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and is aiming to become the third Penske driver to win in this series.

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and reigning Indy 500 winner Pagenaud was the latest Team Penske driver to take the checkered flag, using patience and deft fuel strategy to win last Saturday, April 11 at Michigan in the No. 22 DXC Team Penske Chevrolet. The victory marked the pinnacle of a climb of steady improvement for the Frenchman, as he finished sixth at Watkins Glen and fifth at Barber.

While recent results may not indicate it, INDYCAR and Indianapolis 500 veteran Sage Karam must be considered another favorite for victory at Motegi.

Vastly experienced and successful iRacing competitor Karam is the only driver to lead laps in all three races of this virtual series, also winning the opener at Watkins Glen in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet. He also has led the most laps in all three races, pacing a dominant 116 of the 175 combined laps so far (66 percent).

Karam finished 27th at Barber after a collision while dueling with position with Felix Rosenqvist’s No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda midway through the race, and he ended up 14th at Michigan due to a spin in traffic while climbing back toward the front after an early pit stop.

Threading the needle in traffic will be a primary concern for all contenders, as thickets of cars should form in the big field on an oval approximately a half-mile shorter than last week’s thrilling race at Michigan. The fuel window is expected to be approximately 40 laps, creating a two-stop race that will add plenty of strategic options.

The starting lineup will be set through a 10-minute qualifying session prior to the event.

Two races remain in the six-round series after Saturday, the Circuit of the Americas on April 25 and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track May 2. The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.




Event #3: The Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway


SPOTTER GUIDE - Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway


Chase Your iChampionship ... Fantasy iRacing. Refantasized on Fantasy.INDYCAR.com




‘5 Things To Look For …’ heading into the Chevrolet 275

Entry List | Spotter Guide

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, continues Saturday, April 11 with the Chevrolet 275 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET at Michigan International Speedway.

The event, which will last approximately 75 minutes, will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy and Marty Snider will call the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by NBC’s “The Voice” contestant Beth Griffith-Manley singing the national anthem and NBC Sports host Mike Tirico giving the command to start engines. 

The entry list of 31 drivers – up from 29 last week at Barber Motorsports Park and 25 from the series opener March 28 at Watkins Glen International – includes series champions Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, six Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 209 series victories.

Two-time Daytona 500 winner and NBC Sports motorsports analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. is making his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge this week.

The Chevrolet 275 is the third of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. After this event, remaining races include a "Random Draw" track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track (May 2).

Here are "5 Things To Look For..." heading into Saturday's Chevrolet 275: 

‘Round and Round’

The Chevrolet 275 is the first oval race in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge after events at two natural terrain road courses, Watkins Glen International and Barber Motorsports Park. All competitors will use fixed setups from iRacing, which will create big packs of cars slipstreaming for position.

The fuel window for this 85-lap race is approximately 37 laps, slightly less than half of the race distance. So, depending on the number of caution periods, drivers and their team strategists could decide on two stops for service or try to stretch fuel to finish the race on one stop, creating even more strategic elements. There will be no competition caution to bunch the field Saturday, unlike Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park.

There will be 31 drivers in this race, the largest field yet in the virtual racing series.

‘Andretti Fleet Grows’

Andretti Autosport is the largest team in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and that’s also the case in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge with the addition of two more team drivers to the Chevrolet 275 field.

2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is making his series debut in the No. 28 DHL Honda, while 2006 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Marco Andretti also joins the virtual sim racing world in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda.

Their addition increases the Andretti fleet to six drivers in the 31-car field at Michigan International Speedway, joining teammates Colton Herta, James Hinchcliffe, Alexander Rossi and Zach Veach.

‘Hello, Dale Jr.’

NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. visited the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for the first time last May in his role as a motorsports analyst for NBC Sports. Now Earnhardt is diving into competition in INDYCAR – in the virtual world – by racing Saturday in the Chevrolet 275.

While this is Earnhardt’s debut in the series, he is an avid virtual racer and has competed in iRacing since the racing simulation launched in 2008. Earnhardt will drive a Chevrolet sponsored by longtime backer Nationwide, carrying the No. 3 made famous by his late father, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt has been an enthusiastic participant in pre-race practice sessions this week, chatting with INDYCAR drivers for tips about how the aerodynamics and handling of Indy cars differ from stock cars.

This race will cap an eventful week for Earnhardt, who was named Wednesday as a nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2021.

‘McLaughlin Ruling Sim World’

Scott McLaughlin has won the last two Virgin Australia Supercars championships for DJR Team Penske, and he’s enjoying similar success in virtual racing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand native McLaughlin will aim for his fourth sim race victory in eight days in the Chevrolet 275 on Saturday, driving the No. 2 Snap-on Tools Dallara for Team Penske. He started his hot streak in the virtual world by winning Round 2 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, the Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Saturday, April 4.

Veteran sim racer McLaughlin then followed with wins in two of the three Supercars All Stars eSeries on Wednesday night, April 8, taking the checkered flag at virtual Phillip Island in Australia and virtual Monza in Italy.

‘Road to Indy Virtual Race’

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge provides an uncanny resemblance to actual INDYCAR races, including an invocation, performance of the national anthem and a command to start engines during pre-race before on-track action that looks a lot like the real thing.

That customary cadence of an INDYCAR weekend will reach a new dimension this weekend, as 36 drivers from the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder series will compete in Round 3 of the Ricmotech RTI Racing eSeries at 1 p.m. ET Saturday, just 90 minutes before the start of the Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway.

Round 3 of the Road to Indy virtual series will take place on the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will be streamed live on Road to Indy website and app, ApexRacingTV’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, the iRacing eSports Network and the series’ respective Facebook platforms.

Indy Pro 2000 Championship regular Phillippe Denes leads the eSeries by 18 points after two victories. USF2000 Championship driver Eduardo Barrichello, son of Formula One and Indianapolis 500 veteran Rubens Barrichello, is second in the standings.




Event #2: The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst



‘5 Things To Look For …’ heading into Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Entry List | Spotter Guide

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, continues Saturday, April 4 with the Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET at Barber Motorsports Park.

The event, which will last approximately 60 minutes, will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will call the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by 2019 Miss Alabama Tiara Pennington singing the national anthem and NBA and Auburn University legend Charles Barkley giving the command to start engines. 

The entry list of 29 drivers – up from 25 from the series opener March 28 at Watkins Glen International – includes series champions Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, five Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 189 series victories.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson also is back this week after starting 19th and finishing 16th last Saturday at Watkins Glen in his first competition in an Indy car, albeit virtual.

The Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is the second of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. After this event, remaining races include a "Driver's Choice" track (April 11), a "Random Draw" track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track (May 2).

Here are "5 Things To Look For..." heading into Saturday's Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama:

‘New Faces’

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge field has grown to 29 drivers for the Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama this Saturday with the addition of five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing), 2018 series Rookie of the Year Robert Wickens (Arrow McLaren SP), three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole winner Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing) and Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing).

All drivers in this week’s field – including the four newcomers – will encounter a new strategic element, as a competition caution period will bunch the field on Lap 15. A single-file restart will follow the three-lap caution period.

‘Welcome Back, Robert’

2018 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Robert Wickens will return to competition this weekend as he makes his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Wickens, from Guelph, Ontario, suffered serious injuries in an accident during an INDYCAR race in July 2018 at Pocono Raceway. He will compete Saturday in a SimCraft simulator with special hand controls because of restricted use of his legs and feet due to a spinal cord injury suffered in the crash.

Former INDYCAR driver and current INDYCAR race steward Max Papis is helping Wickens’ efforts to compete virtually. Papis’ steering wheel company, Max Papis Innovations, designed and produced a custom wheel with hand controls for Wickens. The unit arrived at Wickens’ home Thursday, April 2, but he didn’t have enough time to get acclimated with it before Saturday’s race, so he will use the MPI unit at future rounds of the virtual series.

While Wickens is excited to compete virtually, he sees the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge as another important step in his goal to return to real race cars. His journey also has included tireless hours of physical therapy and rehabilitation, which he has documented often and inspired millions with on social media.

“The biggest thing for me is although this is fun, I see this as the long-term project of getting me back into the race car,” Wickens said. “I always knew through simulation was going to be the best way to trial different handbrake or paddle configurations. This is step one of a hundred to get me back into the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”

‘Coach Karam’

Sage Karam, a veteran and successful iRacing competitor, so dominated the inaugural round of the series Saturday, March 28 that his rivals have sought his advice this week during preparation for the Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Karam won the pole and led 43 of the 45 laps in his No. 24 WIX Filters DRR Chevrolet to beat Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing to the checkered flag by 3.6174 seconds at Watkins Glen International.

Now that he’s a marked man as the current king of INDYCAR iRacing, Karam is dispensing tips to his rivals – to a point.

“It’s fun to help them get up to speed in iRacing,” Karam said. “I just don’t want to give them too much information as I am still competing against them each week from my home. If I can help make the overall product more competitive, it will be great for the racing on the screen and the racing fans.”

‘Carpenter Back on the Road’

Ed Carpenter is known and respected as one of the best oval racers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. All three of his career series victories have come on circle tracks, and he also has won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 three times.

Road racing? Well, not so fast. Ed Carpenter Racing owner-driver Carpenter has driven only in oval events for the last six-plus years, with his last road-course start in the series coming Oct. 6, 2013 on the street course in Houston.

But the lure of competing against his friends and rivals in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge was too much for Carpenter to resist. So, he’s hitting the road and making his virtual series debut Sunday in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet. Carpenter is using the No. 21 of ECR teammate Rinus VeeKay because ECR teammate Conor Daly already is using Carpenter’s No. 20 virtual car, as Daly will compete in all real NTT INDYCAR SERIES road and street events this season in the No. 20.

“I am looking forward to finally getting some racing in on Saturday,” Carpenter said. “It has been a long time since I competed in a road race. Both the cars and iRacing have changed quite a lot. I am a week late to the party, but hopefully I will be up to speed enough to give the 21 car a good ride!

“I know my friends and family are excited to watch me, so no pressure! Hopefully everyone tunes into NBCSN and enjoys a little bit of relief from their quarantine.”

‘Turns for Troops’

United Rentals and NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Graham Rahal are teaming up to continue the Turns for Troops program during the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. United Rentals has committed to donate $50 per lap that Rahal completes this season to the SoldierStrong program to help improve the lives of U.S. military veterans.

Through cutting-edge rehabilitation, recovery and scholarship programs, SoldierStrong transforms the lives of U.S. service members by empowering them to regain their mobility, freedom and overall sense of identity.

Fans can learn more about Turns for Troops and SoldierStrong by visiting turnsfortroops.ur.com.




ANNOUNCING!!
NBC Sports Presents INDYCAR iRacing Challenge from Virtual Barber Motorsports Park
Saturday on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET

Inaugural Presentation of INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on NBCSN

NBC Sports INDYCAR Commentary Team of Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell Will Call Saturday's Event

Event to Stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App

NBC Sports presents the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a live, virtual racing event featuring a field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, this Saturday with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the virtual Barber Motorsports Park live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The event will mark the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing event to appear on NBCSN.

More than two dozen INDYCAR drivers are expected to compete in this weekend's INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time and reigning series champion Josef Newgarden, and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. Last Saturday, 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam won the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing Challenge American Red Cross Grand Prix at the virtual Watkins Glen International.

NBC Sports' lead INDYCAR broadcast team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), Paul Tracy (analyst), and Townsend Bell (analyst) will call the action.

This marks the latest collaboration between NBC Sports and iRacing, which began in 2019 when NBC Sports telecast the first-ever eNASCAR live event on television. NBC Sports and iRacing teamed up to present the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Championship in a two-hour event live on NBCSN last October.




Event #1: The American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International

SPOTTER GUIDE - American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International




INDIANAPOLIS (March 27, 2020) - The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, begins this weekend with Saturday's American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

The event, which will last approximately 90 minutes, will be streamed through INDYCAR.com while INDYCAR's YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as iRacing's Twitch will serve as additional outlets for viewing. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will be calling the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by iconic national anthem singer Jim Cornelison adding his voice as he has for the past three Indianapolis 500s.

The entry list of 25 drivers includes series champions Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, four Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 140 series victories. The Team Penske trio of Newgarden, Pagenaud and Power, along with the A.J. Foyt Racing duo of Bourdais and Kanaan, have combined for nine series championships led by Bourdais' four and two by Newgarden.

If that wasn't enough talent, a driver with a record-tying seven NASCAR Cup Series crowns - Jimmie Johnson - will join the virtual race as a "special guest" entrant.

The American Red Cross Grand Prix is the first of six events to be held weekly each Saturday through May 2. The opening event will be followed by others at Barber Motorsports Park (April 4), a "Driver's Choice" track (April 11), a "Random Draw" track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track (May 2).




Fan Vote: Live Bracket

INDYCAR iRacing Challenge



Thursday, March 26: Final Round

After six days of voting, we've now reached the pinnacle of the Fan Vote for the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. On one side, representing the road courses, is the full course of Watkins Glen International. On the other, representing the ovals tracks, is Michigan International Speedway. Two will enter, one will reign supreme. It's time for the fans to decide ... which of these two prestigious tracks will our drivers take on this Saturday, March 28th at 4 p.m. ET?




Wednesday, March 25: Semifinal 2

Our second INDYCAR iRacing Challenge semifinal brought the speed with two of the fastest ovals on the planet. It's Michigan International Speedway paired up against its twin sister track, Auto Club Speedway. In the end, the Irish eyes were smiling in the Irish Hills region of Michigan, as MIS swept all three polls and moves onto the final round!



Tuesday, March 24: Semifinal 1

Our first INDYCAR iRacing Challenge semifinal took it on the road, as the full course at Watkins Glen International matched up against Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. While the famed island circuit in Quebec and current home of Forumula 1's Canadian Grand Prix took down Sebring earlier in the week, Watkins Glen gave Montreal "the boot" in convincing fashion across all three voting platforms. Watkins Glen moves onto the final fan vote starting Thursday morning!



Monday, March 23: Round 1

Our final Round 1 matchup put the Far East against the Far West, as Japan's Twin Ring Motegi went toe-to-toe against Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. INDYCAR.com had it for Auto Club by 41 votes. Twitter had it for Motegi by 92 votes. As for Instagram ..... Auto Club wins by 489 votes! Not quite what we'd call a landslide, but the voice of the fan is clear ... Auto Club Speedway moves onto the semifinals!



Sunday, March 22: Round 1

The our third track matchup featured two completely different style road courses from two different countries. In the US vs. Canada showdown, Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve gets the fan vote over Sebring Raceway, moving the picturesque track onto the semifinals!



Saturday, March 21: Round 1

The second track matchup put two beloved Midwestern ovals head-to-head. While the Milwaukee Mile narrowly won the general election on INDYCAR.com and on Twitter, it was Michigan that dominated the Instagram vote by over 700, turning the tight battle close battle into victory. Michigan International Speedway moves onto the semifinals!



Friday, March 20: Round 1

In a battle of two world-class road courses going head-to-head in an East vs. West matchup, Watkins Glen International emerges victorious over Sonoma Raceway and moves on to the semifinals.