By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
After a successful debut with the Firecracker 400 last July, eRacr returns with The Carnomaly 500.
The Firecracker 400 utilized iRacing’s 1987 NASCAR Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Ford Thunderbird at the Legacy Daytona International Speedway. 344 drivers, including real-life pros William Byron, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch. 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers Bob Bryant, John Gorlinsky, Malik Ray, and race winner Brandon Kettelle also participated. Over 19 hours of racing were broadcasted
“The Firecracker 400 was an incredible event for us,” Landon Cassill explained. “For a lot of folks, it was an emotional experience to see such a nostalgic race recreated in the virtual world. It was an instant classic for us, and we plan on continuing the event in the future.”
Now, Cassill, Parker Kligerman, and Joshua Mendoza have teamed once again to bring The Carnomaly 500. The newest marquee event for eRacr will feature the Gen 5 NASCAR COT at the modern iRacing scan of Daytona International Speedway. The Carnomaly 500 will feature up to 496 drivers attempting to make a 43-car grid.
Earnhardt, Busch, Bobby Labonte, and Elliott Sadler are among the real-life drivers entered. Half of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers have also entered the race, which has a $15,000 purse.
Recently, iRacing adjusted the Gen 5 NASCAR stock cars, removing the restrictor plate. The now unrestricted beasts travel at over 230 MPH into the banking of Daytona. The Carnomaly 500 is split into four stages due to the high level of interest.
Stage 1 will see preliminary races, cutting the field down from a max of 496 drivers to 88. The top-11 in the eight prelim races will transfer to Stage 2, Valvoline Pole Day. Those who do not qualifying on the front row are then transferred into the Blue Emu Battle 150s for Stage 3. The top-20 from each Battle 150 then transfers to Stage 4, The Carnomaly 500.
Stage 1 takes place on Feb 17 and 18. Valvoline Pole Day is Feb 24 with the Blue Emu Battle 150s Feb 25. The Carnomaly will take place on March 3. All Carnomaly 500 events start at 7:00 p.m. ET.
“We were extremely proud of our race format for the Firecracker 400, but we wanted to get more out of it for our next event,” explained event director Mendoza. “By adding heat races and a consolation race to each Prelim, we feel like we will see an even more competitive group of drivers in each prelim feature. Making the top 11 in our prelim events needs to be a fair balance of skill and luck. We believe eRacr events capture that.”
Multiple stages also mean multiple broadcasts. eRacr will fill a void in the sim racing community, creating the first fantasy game in the industry for viewers to be able to interact with on screen (for desktop browsers). Fans can pick winners and potentially earn prizes throughout the three weeks of racing.
“The Carnomaly 500 broadcast will feature the first iteration of what we believe to be the future of esports broadcasting,” stated Cassill. “Our fans will not just enjoy the show itself but get to play along in real time picking their favorite drivers with a chance to win prizes.”
The philosophy of eRacr’s events is simply to do what real racing can’t. The Carnomaly 500 answers the question of what racing would look like at superspeedways without restrictor plates or tapered spacers. The first eRacr event, won by Kettelle, harkened back to the days before both restrictor plates and roof flaps. The second eRacr event, the Hard to Drive 300 showed the same NASCAR Gen 5 COTs at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We want to step out of the box when it comes to a broadcast experience,” explained Kligerman. “We feel like we can use our experience from real world broadcasts and our flexibility of being an independent organization to our advantage. Expect to see things from eRacr that traditional motorsports broadcast can’t, or won’t try.”
Cassill and Kligerman will be joined in the booth for The Carnomaly 500 by iRacing streamer David Schildhouse. NASCAR’s Kim Coon will reprise her role from The Firecracker and serve as the virtual pit reporter. eRacr will broadcast the 500-mile event in house.
Feature Photo courtesy of eRacr / @dnadders (Twitter)