By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
In a case of bringing NASCAR to potentially new race fans across the collegiate and eSports worlds, the sanctioning body has partnered with NACE Starleague to form the eNASCAR College iRacing Series.
Continuing the momentum of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, NASCAR, through iRacing, will be on display at more than 500 colleges and universities nationwide. Through those colleges and universities, over 10,000 students will have the opportunity to compete on the competitive sim racing platform. iRacing has already expanded to several colleges and universities with sim rigs being available in eSports arenas and hubs.
Through NACE Starleague, the largest collegiate eSports league in North America, the 10,000 students will be sorted down to the 40 fastest sim racers for each race. Qualifying for the eNASCAR College iRacing Series is live now for the season opening Playfly Sports 30 at the virtual Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, February 24.
The 40 that advance to each race of the eNASCAR College iRacing Series will compete for a combined $50,000 in scholarships provided by the eNASCAR Scholarship Fund throughout the calendar year. The series will utilize the laser-scanned versions of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverados, Ford F-150s, and Toyota Tundras.
The partnership between NASCAR, NACE Starleague, and CSL Sports, a Playfly Sports Company is among the first of its’ kind for sim racing. The eNASCAR Ignite Series, which took place in 2020, offered 50 young talents to showcase their driving skills on the platform. Other sim racing platforms have also had other scholarship opportunities within the racing industry.
“It is paramount for CSL Esports and Playfly Sports to continue growing and expanding within NACE Starleague,” said Rob Johnson, CEO, CSL Esports. “Integrating sim racing as part of the league not only provides greater opportunity for students with varied gaming interests, but furthers our long-term mission of linking education, in this case engineering-focused knowledge, with Esports competition.”
The 2022 eNASCAR College iRacing Series will feature three races in the Spring and four in the Fall. After a trip to the virtual ‘World Center of Racing’ at Daytona in February, the series will visit the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway in March and Watkins Glen International in April. The four-race Fall schedule will be announced at a later date.
“Gaming and Esports are an important component of NASCAR, allowing us to reach new fans who are often engaging with the sport for the first time,” said Nick Rend, Managing Director of Gaming and Esports, NASCAR. “Our various eNASCAR initiatives have seen exponential growth. We felt this was the right time to extend our reach to a younger audience and launch the eNASCAR College iRacing Series to show students the opportunities that sim racing and our sport hold for them.”
The new series will be presented by NASCAR Official Partners Coca-Cola, Logitech, Playseat and Southern Computer Warehouse.
2022 eNASCAR College iRacing Series Schedule*
- Daytona International Speedway
Qualifying: February 7 – 21
Race (60 Laps): February 24 at 8 p.m. ET
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
Qualifying: March 7 – 21
Race (80 Laps): March 24 at 8 p.m. ET
- Watkins Glen International
Qualifying: April 10 – 24
Race (30 Laps): April 27 at 8 p.m. ET
- Four-race schedule to be released at a later date
*Tentative and subject to change
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by Seth Eggert / Kickin’ the Tires.