Hamlin closes NASCAR iRacing Series with another victory

Charlotte, North Carolina): Denny Hamlin closed NASCAR 's IRacing series with a win in a flashback simulation North Wilkesboro Speedway . The Daytona 500 Mile winner was instrumental in organizing his fellow Cup riders for the invitation series that began after the series was suspended. Hamlin, who runs barefoot in a front-line simulator, won the inaugural iRacing event on March 22.

He also gained national attention three races ago in the virtual Talladega Superspeedway when his daughter, Taylor, tried to ask him a question during the race and accidentally turned off the screen of his simulator with a remote control he was holding.

To win at North Wilkesboro on Saturday, Hamlin on four fresh tires chased down leader Ross Chastain and nudged him out of the way. Chastain retaliated by hitting Hamlin 's car after the checkered flag.

Two boys going through the same place, said Hamlin, who said Chastain tried to block his movement.

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Hamlin closed the IRacing series with two wins in seven races. William Byron led the series with three victories but did not compete Saturday.

NASCAR is scheduled to resume racing next Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, where the series will compete without spectators.

I can't wait to go back. I can't wait to see them in the real world starting next week, Hamlin said.

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NASCAR closed out its virtual series at North Wilkesboro Speedway , an original venue on NASCAR 's schedule in 1949 that was abandoned after the 1996 season as NASCAR began to expand outside its southern footprint.

Jeff Gordon won the last race on the 0.625 mile short track which featured a unique uphill and downhill fastball. After years of being idle, the track has been badly damaged by weather and neglect and overgrown with weeds.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., an early iRacing enthusiast, recently led a clean-up effort of the iconic speedway so that iRacing could laser scan it and add it to the tracks on the virtual platform. It is not yet on iRacing for public use but was made available for NASCAR 's final race of its invitational esports venture. The track has been simulated as it was in 1987 and will be available for the public to race in June.

NASCAR quickly pivoted from real racing when its season was suspended March 13 during the coronavirus pandemic of the virtual platform. His broadcasts set multiple eSports viewing records for streaming partner Fox, but the novelty faded after Bubba Wallace was fired by a sponsor for anger at leaving a career, and then Kyle Larson used a racial slur while on the platform on Easter Sunday. He was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing for the incident.

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