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NASCAR racing goes virtual during coronavirus pandemic

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The sights and sounds are similar. But this isn’t your typical NASCAR race.

“The iRacing deal has been a fun diversion,” said Tommy Praytor.

Thanks to eNASCAR iRacing, NASCAR fans can still enjoy watching their favorite drivers on Sunday. While the broadcasts may be new to television, virtual racing has been around a while.

“iRacing is already huge. The kid that won the iRacing championship last year won a check for $40,000,” said Praytor.

This isn’t something that can be done by popping a disc into a gaming console. iRacing is a subscription based web service, and some of the racing rigs can be elaborate.

“Some of the guys that raced yesterday had a $100 steering wheel, and others had a $2,000 steering wheel,” said Praytor. “Then if you want to get exotic like Denny Hamlin, his entire system moves to simulate the movement of the race track.”

Praytor says teams have been using this technology to allow drivers to take laps at tracks all over the country as extra practice. While it’s a good way to keep the racing community engaged during these tough times, he says it will never replace the real deal.

“If you’ve ever sat in a race car and gone 190 MPH with 40 of your closest friends beating and banging on each other, iRacing won’t beat racing,” said Praytor.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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