Clint Bowyer: ‘perfect storm’ Conditions for iRacing, eNASCAR


Last Sunday, 900,000 Americans watched Denny Hamlin edge out Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the Dixie Vodka 150, an eNASCAR race from the virtual Miami Hempstead Speedway on FS1. iRacing, a practice which has been in place for well over a decade, is now going mainstream.

Starting Sunday with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125, from the virtual Texas Motor Speedway, all of the Pro Invitational Series will be televised, on FOX.  Last week saw the most watched eSports event in television history, and eSports are starting to have all the related businesses that mainstream sports have. The Best Casinos are taking action on eSports, you have fantasy leagues out there, not to mention web programming in which pundits debate who the best competitors are.

With that in mind, Clint Bowyer joined the media on teleconference today to talk about this trend and the upcoming race, among other things.

Bowyer used the phrase “perfect storm” to describe the situation in regards to iRacing and eNASCAR taking off. He’s absolutley 100% right. The races are now shorter and therefore more viewer friendly.

And it’s a sport that’s perfect suited for social distancing.

Asked how serious the racers take these simuations, Clint Bowyer responded:

“Hell yes, it’s serious.  Did you see the viewership? One million viewers.  I want to win this thing big-time for myself, for my partners, for everybody.

“You want to be the man in front of a million viewers.  You start putting it on the big brother station over there on network, airing on Fox, this is gonna be even bigger this weekend.  Everybody is practicing big-time.  If you question that, all you’ve got to do is get on iRacing each and every evening, during the day, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, you get on there, log on, and there will be people on Texas racing and practicing for this weekend.

“So it would be an understatement to think that it’s not serious, but that being said, I think it needs to be entertaining.”

He then went into why all the stars lined up for this competition to take center stage.

“You look and it’s the perfect storm.”

“It’s as if iRacing had been started and built 15 years ago for this very moment, for this very situation.  The iRacing itself, I’ve watched these races and the series races.”

“We all have professional drivers that drive for us. I have drivers that run in the series with my Bowyer Dirt brand, and Denny does, all my peers, the manufacturers do, the organizations do.”

“Production-wise, I’ve known that it was good and it keeps getting better. The camera angles, everything, it’s pretty damn realistic and pretty damn good, so it didn’t surprise me one bit.  I think this weekend will be even bigger.”


“We’re all quarantined.  Everybody is looking for some entertainment.  Certainly the racing aspect was alive with Dale Jr. and Denny coming down to the wire, a last corner pass.  That’s a tall order to ask in real life.  That was one hell of a race.

“In fact, I wrecked my car at the end of the race because I was watching the TV on the wall of the finish to see who was gonna win the thing.”

“I was kind of limping around in 16th place and wasn’t gonna win anyway.  I was watching the race because I could hear Gordon and Mike Joy in the booth going through the roof.”

“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’  So I look over and watching this thing and run right into the wall.  That being said, it needs to have some fun, some light-heartedness too.  I think there’s room for everybody.

“I hope that you enjoyed it and I think the fans did.  Obviously, the ratings showed that, but, again, just a perfect storm to bridge this gap until we get back on the race track.  I think it’s a great thing for everybody.”

He also was asked if he’s into or as ever been into video games. He definitely was not, but this won him over.

“I’m not a gamer.  To be honest with you, I’ve always made fun of gamers.  I mean, I could tell you going over to my brother’s house and here he was sitting in the basement, he’s got a headset on, he’s talking to some maniac who knows where.  I think he was playing that Fortnite game or whatever the hell that is, and I’m like, ‘What in the hell is wrong with you?’

“And I’ll be darned here I am the other night at 2:30 in the morning in one hell of a street stock race with a bunch of my buddies, got a headset on, we’re on the mic, we’re talking.  I had a blast and I’m telling you I drove my rear off. ”

“It was unbelievable how challenging it was to get that car around the race track and, more than that, keep it going around the race track for a long time.”

Funny stuff!

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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