IndyCar virtual Barber race to air on television

IndyCar's iRacing event Saturday will be televised after the virtual race was picked up by NBC Sports.

The debut virtual race last weekend drew 433,000 combined viewers to both IndyCar and iRacing's online stream. Totals viewers jumped to 600,000 when IndyCar tallied how many watched drivers' social media feeds or gaming channels.

NASCAR has done well in its virtual racing series, setting records for viewership the past two weeks. Sunday's virtual race that aired on some Fox affiliates and nationally on its cable channel drew 1.3 million viewers.

NBC Sports is IndyCar's broadcast partner but had declined to air the first iRacing event. Now it will use its booth of Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell to call the race at virtual Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

More than two dozen IndyCar drivers are expected to compete, including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, who did not take part in last week's event. Sage Karam won the event at virtual Watkins Glen in New York.

NBC Sports first worked with iRacing in October when it aired the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Championship in a two-hour event live on NBCSN.

Several racing series have gone virtual during the shutdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The iRacing platform gives drivers an opportunity to hone their skills in a realistic environment, provide content to fans and showcase their teams and sponsors.