NASCAR has succeeded in one big thing with its iRacing Pro Invitational Pro Series: If you don’t miss a real car-stock race before these things come, you really miss it now.
They are holding another Sunday Cup video-game competition from the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. This is the first sign that this is not real: All seats are filled. The last time the actual spring race was held in Bristol, only about a quarter of the seats were occupied.
But anyway. NASCAR and Fox won praise for trying to make this look and sound like a real race for their real advertisers and sponsors, but the best that can be said about the event is that it’s true. . . better than nothing. The result is doubtful (though not too long), and it killed several hours.
Then the official ranking comes on Tuesday. The fake race, which was broadcast on television on Fox and Fox Sports One, attracted 1.179 million real viewers, with a value of 0.71. The real race in Bristol last year, only on Fox Sports One, attracted 2.806 million viewers, ranking 1.71. OK, fake apples and real oranges.
But a week earlier, the iRacing event on Fox and Fox Sports One of Texas Motor Speedway pretended to attract 1.339 million viewers, or a rating of 0.81. That was a one-week decline of 12% in viewers and ratings for races of famous tracks that should be more interesting than Texas.
Fox and Fox Sports One can say the show from Bristol is the third most watched sports program on a TV schedule that was reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic. No. 1, once again, is Friday Night Smackdown on Fox, a rasslin event recorded before by the skeleton staff before there is no live audience.
But No. 2 is a repeat of the 2019 Beverly Hills Dog Show, which was shown on Sunday afternoon on NBC. Figures for doggies: 1,227 million viewers, rating of 0.81. So 48,000 more people watched the dog show rerun than the live video-game race that was shown two network.
WearingDon’t blame Fox, because he didn’t try to ignore this video-game race as the real thing. One of his commentators on Sunday is the always entertaining Clint Bowyer, who actually drives the race – and was involved in the initial clashes with Bubba Wallace. “I really need beer,” Bowyer said.
The race was a mess, with 12 periods of caution including 66 rounds of 150 rounds. Here’s the problem: iRacing is an impressive simulation, but the best native NASCAR drivers in that regard have video-game experience – and are far better than drivers with less experience, like Bowyer.
If the anonymous video-game champion is played instead of the actual NASCAR driver and ex-driver, the event might be better, but even fewer will tune. very good car driver.
Bristol is a short track, where crashing and pounding are common. The field was limited to 32 cars for the iRacing race on Sunday, opening up some space on the track, but the impact and impact on the back of the virtual package often made several cars spin.
All that will be fine – it’s just a video game, to cry out loud. The positive part about this accident is that the driver is not injured in real life, as happened in an actual race. So it’s all just for fun, unless the driver and fans know that, so there’s no tense drama.
Wallace was damaged twice on Sunday, using his “reset” before deciding to quit the race. He got a loud rebuke from his sponsor, on Twitter, of course. Daniel Suarez and Kyle Larson were then disqualified for trying to destroy each other. Only three riders lead the race.
Fox will keep trying, but the fans remain alert. Sooner or later, there will be real racing again, and everyone will be happy to see it after such a long break and forget all about the bad substitute. A fan called it “exaggeration,” which is a description as good as “better than nothing.”
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