This week in NASCAR (Mar. 22-26, 2021)

For the last few months, I’ve thought about starting this weekly column because the world of NASCAR has some hilarious occurrences in the middle of the week that deserve the spotlight. While we get the action during the weekend, many outside the NASCAR world are oblivious to what goes on during a random Tuesday evening, but that’s why I’m here. Let’s get into it.

Noah Gragson

Depending on what Noah does next, this could become a weekly headline as the No. 9 driver for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series can’t stay out of the NASCAR Twitter-scope. Last Saturday, Gragson was heavily criticized for his pit-road incident with Daniel Hemric. The two drivers brawled it out post-race with Hemric pulling out his inner Israel Adesanya with quality striking defense and finding a straight shot on Gragson.

How did NASCAR respond to Gragson putting pit-crew members’ lives in jeopardy? They let him off the hook. Way to show how you care about your best athletes, NASCAR.

At the moment, I have Hemric 10-9 on my scorecard.

On a more serious note, Gragson was the forefront of off-track allegations. This time, for allegedly using a homophobic slur a few years ago.

This isn’t the first time Gragson has been involved of some off-track wrongdoings, which include him videotaping a women from behind and catcalling her.

It’s one thing to be young and ignorant. It’s another to continue being the forefront of these problems and not be held accountable for it and pretend it never happened. Personally, I don’t have any qualms toward Gragson, but if more situations like these continue to occur, then we all know he’s more than just ignorant.

Let’s Go iRacing! (but only if you have a charter)

There’s nothing dumber than real-life stakes being implemented into the virtual world of iRacing. A fun, enjoyable platform for racing enthusiast to have a somewhat realistic experience of getting behind the wheel of their favorite motorsports vehicles.

Wednesday, NASCAR began their second annual Pro Invitational Series at the virtual Bristol dirt track. Immediately, frustrations ensued as NASCAR and FOX used the real-life, 36-car charter system to determine who could race in this virtual, NON-POINTS PAYING event. Underfunded driver Timmy Hill was not listed on the entries with Motorsports Business Management and was not going to participate in the event.

Nothing like holding a kickball event during recess and forcing the lesser-athletic kids to pay an entry fee…

On the day of the event, Team Penske announced that Hill would pilot the No. 2 Ford after Austin Cindric handed him the seat and Brad Keselowski had other obligations to attend. However, NASCAR solved the problem by not solving the problem because broadcasting this event is still big for teams to get ad time for their sponsors. Again, the stakes of iRacing are dumb and the fact that drivers have lost sponsors for getting angry at a video game ruins any enjoyment the event had the potential of possessing.

Anyway, did y’all know William Byron got his career started through iRacing????

This ain’t your childhood NASCAR schedule

The one positive to come from iRacing this week was the experiment of a Chicago street course to close out the Pro Invitational Series this year.

Graphic via iRacing

The race will take place virtually near the home of the Chicago Bears, Soldier Field and will consist of some long straights and sharp, tight corners to really put the test to brakes.

This opens the door for NASCAR and iRacing to collaborate and experiment with the future of schedules and where they can go. I could only dream of a race going through the streets of Downtown LA and creating more standstill traffic than there already is. In all seriousness, I love the prospects of how unique the NASCAR schedule will look three, four and five years from now. Soon, we won’t have to deal with multiple races at the same Dorito-shaped speedway (I’m talking to you, Pocono). Outside of Bristol, Martinsville, Talladega and Daytona, no track is worth a second visit. The more diversity, the better. (You don’t say..)

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