Disappointment is a part of sports. Winning, losing, tying—they’re all part of an athlete’s world. But when games and tournaments get canceled, pretty much everyone is disappointed. That’s why NASCAR decided to take action after a race in March was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. NASCAR wanted to recreate an experience of racing even if people couldn’t gather to watch the event live. Cue eNASCAR, a virtual racing experience. Race drivers stay home (maybe in flip flops or bare feet, and perhaps in their dining room or study) and use a race simulator to compete against other drivers.Just like regular car races, this eNASCAR race was telecast on television screens via sports channels. Most things about the tournament were the same: Celebrities sung the national anthem, drivers responded to questions in interviews before the big race, and more than 900,000 viewers watched. The most exciting part? In regular racing, the type of car a racer has makes a big difference in whether they win or lose, but with virtual racing, all “cars” are the same—or rather, everyone uses the same software. So how does a racer win? Well, they use the same things that drivers use in regular races—quick-thinking moves, brains sending commands to feet and hands, and ultimately, split-second driving over the finish line. The winner at this e-racing tournament was Denny Hamlin, who cruised to victory on a simulation of the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Will there be more eNascar racing in the future? Perhaps, but NASCAR announced that live racing will resume this month. Vroom! Vroom!
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