IndyCar will begin a 6-race exhibition season on iRacing next week

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On the heels of NASCAR and IMSA forming their exhibition events, IndyCar announced its iRacing plans Friday.

The series will stage a six-race schedule that will begin March 28 with “a stellar lineup of current NTT IndyCar Series drivers and possibly some special guests.”

IMSA will play host to a “SuperSaturday” at a virtual Sebring International Raceway that will feature some big names from IndyCar.

Fans will vote on IndyCar social platforms today through March 26 to select the inaugural track for the season.

NASCAR will hold a Sunday exhibition all-star race with active drivers including Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin as well as NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Here is the release from IndyCar:

INDYCAR is going racing again, virtually that is.

INDYCAR and iRacing, the world’s premier motorsports racing simulation, are partnering to currently stage six virtual race events featuring a stellar lineup of current NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and possibly some special guests beginning Saturday, March 28.

Each race will be streamed live on indycar.com for the enjoyment of racing fans while the current 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is suspended through April as a result of the coronavirus situation. While indycar.com will serve as the primary live streaming source, there also will be secondary platforms to watch the virtual race events each week – INDYCAR’s YouTube and Facebook Live as well as iRacing’s Twitch.

Each virtual race event, which will last approximately 90 minutes to two hours, will begin at 4 p.m. ET each Saturday through May 2.

To enhance the fan experience, INDYCAR will conduct a 15-minute, pre-race virtual autograph session with several of the participants beginning at 3:15 p.m. each week. There also will be a live interview with the race winner by post-race host Katie Hargitt on INDYCAR’s Instagram immediately following the conclusion of the race.

The inaugural INDYCAR iRacing Challenge race venue will be selected through bracket voting by fans today through Thursday. Fans can vote daily on the track matchup in the bracket to determine which venue will advance to the next round. The voting, which has a 12-hour window beginning 10 a.m. daily after today, is available through the @INDYCAR Instagram and Twitter handles or online at indycar.com/iracing.

The opening virtual race event will be followed by Barber Motorsports Park (April 4), “Driver’s Choice” track (April 11), “Random Draw” track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track (May 2).

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge events will feature qualifications in addition to the races. Teams will be able to design car liveries to match their desired paint schemes. To further give the action an authentic look and feel, each car will be equipped with INDYCAR’s new Aeroscreen, a revolutionary cockpit-protecting device introduced for the 2020 season.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

An entry list of the drivers participating, along with the bracket-winning race venue for the opener, will be announced next week.

April 2 in Motorsports History: Robby Gordon’s first IndyCar victory

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“What comes around goes around.”

That’s what Robby Gordon told reporters after he won his first major race on April 2, 1995.

Just one year after running out of fuel while leading CART’s 200-mile event at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon was in victory lane at the same facility, thanks in part to an error by Michael Andretti.

Despite falling a lap behind early, Gordon stayed with the leaders throughout, eventually regaining his lap.

With seven laps remaining, Emerson Fittipaldi led Andretti (second) and Gordon (third). But one lap later, Fittipaldi had to come in for a final splash of fuel.

While Fittipaldi pitted, Gordon passed Andretti to inherit the lead. Having not been told by his team that he inherited the lead, and assuming that Gordon was still a lap down, Andretti let him by without a fight.

It was only until after the race when he was being interviewed by ESPN’s Gary Gerould that Andretti became aware of the fact that he was in contention to win.

Robby Gordon celebrates after winning at Phoenix. Photo: All Sport

“Was that for the win?!?” Andretti asked Gerould. “I had no idea I was in the lead.

“It’s disappointing because I got held up with (Eliseo) Salazar and (Roberto) Guerrero, and they pushed me up into the slippery stuff (marbles), and that’s how Gordon got by me. Otherwise, I had no idea I was even in the lead.”

Meanwhile in victory lane, Gordon couldn’t have been happier.

“I’m ecstatic. I was crying on the back straightaway,” Gordon told ESPN’s Jack Arute. “It’s my first victory in IndyCar. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Gordon would win once more in IndyCar (from the pole at Belle Isle later that season). He would continue racing in both CART and the Indy Racing Leauge on and off through the remainder of the 1990s and early 2000s before moving to full-time NASCAR competition. He now races in his Stadium Super Trucks series.

Ironically enough, another Gordon also was victorious on this date in 1995. Earlier in the day, Jeff Gordon won a 500-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Also on this date:

1977: Tom Sneva won the Texas Grand Prix at Texas World Speedway. Later that season, he would win again at Pocono en route to clinching his first championship.

2004: Former World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski recorded his first and only IROC victory in dominant fashion, leading flag to flag at Texas Motor Speedway after starting from the pole position. He then raced in a WoO event at the TMS dirt track the following night.

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