With the lack of live sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, TV networks have been forced to be creative.
The World of Outlaws is the most recent beneficiary. Virtual WoO will make its debut on FOX Sports with the introduction of Wednesday Night iRacing on FS1.
The first event will feature a 35-lap NOS Energy Sprint Car Series race, followed by a 50-lap Morton Buildings Late Model race at the virtual Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“The iRacing simulation platform is undeniably the closest thing to real racing we can deliver to our viewers during this challenging time,” said Brad Zager, FOX Sports Executive Producer, EVP/Head of Production & Operations. “While the racing may be virtual, the competition and fun are absolutely real, and we’ll use Wednesday nights to explore a variety of virtual racing.”
WoO announcer Johnny Gibson will call the action with FOX’s Adam Alexander. Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer will offer commentary. The action starts at 8 p.m. ET.
“Americans are resilient, dirt track fans more than most, but they are also a proud group,” said Ben Geisler, Chief Marketing Officer for the World of Outlaws. “I can’t wait to hear them talking about the sport they love this week, while FOX Sports places it on arguably the biggest stage in sports right now.
"Our drivers are a determined bunch, they have jumped through hoops to find sim gear and they are putting in 10-hour marathon practice sessions to get up to speed. They will put on a great show.”
Current Outlaws Sprint Car champion Brad Sweet is a rookie at iRacing, but he’s looking forward to taking the sport he loves to a major network.
“Obviously, I wish this was the real thing and we could showcase our series, sponsors and drivers on TV all the time,” Sweet said. “But with everything going on, I’m extremely thankful that we are able to have some fun and hopefully show race fans across the country what the virtual World of Outlaws looks like.
“I have never done iRacing until a few days ago. But I’m excited for some friendly competition and, hopefully, I can get a respectable finish with the NAPA car.”
Over 1,339,000 viewers watched the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series from virtual Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday on FOX and FS1, a new eSports record. NASCAR races from virtual Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday.
LOGANO CONTINUES PHILANTHROPIC WORK DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Joey Logano has established a $1-million COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Through the Joey Logano Foundation—and in partnership with Elevation Church of Charlotte—the fund will be allocated to medical supplies, food distribution, education and financial shortages throughout North Carolina and communities hit by the coronavirus throughout the U.S.
The U.S. currently leads the world in the number of reported COVID-19 cases with more than 184,000 as of Monday.
“Right now, the world is experiencing a situation like we’ve never seen before,” Logano said. “I’ve been blessed to have the ability to help others with our platform, and for the past few weeks, the Joey Logano Foundation has been able to help in multiple ways on a local level. However, Brittany and I knew we could do more and felt a huge calling to give on a larger capacity at a statewide and national level.
“Partnering up with Elevation Outreach couldn’t have been a better fit. At a blistering pace, Elevation Outreach and the Joey Logano Foundation have been able to create a $1,000,000 COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which will help provide funding and necessary supplies for organizations in need during this scary time.
“Part of JLF’s mission is to inspire others to live a life of generosity, and our hope is that this Response and Recovery Fund is a catalyst for others to be inspired to give back during this pandemic.”