Digital NASCAR Heading for Disaster?

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NASCAR has recently shifted to online racing and it has been awesome. I am thankful for it and have been enjoying it greatly. I have always thought this should have been a bigger deal and it is interesting that it has taken a worldwide event to make it happen. However, there are some strange circumstances that need to be addressed if even the future of e-racing is to continue.

My thought about the sport was that all the current drivers would be racing virtually and continue the season online. NASCAR fantasy could continue, drivers points would be awarded, and at the end of the season, we would have a champion. Even if when we do get back to real-life racing,  maybe it can be used for weather canceled races. Just a thought, but continuing on. Just recently, some issues have evolved that are beginning to blur the lines between real and digital racing.

At first glance, NASCAR moving online is a great idea. However, not all the current active cup series drivers are racing virtually. There are some retired drivers and other series drivers in the mix as well. What is the reason for this? Is it just for fun? I do understand that many of the drivers are not as familiar with virtual racing as others, so maybe they don’t want to race online. Is it for entertainment and for fans to enjoy until we can get back to real racing? Well, the next paragraph is going to make you ask what truly is “real” racing.

Bubba Wallace apparently “rage quit” after wrecking out of the virtual Bristol race on April 5, 2020. Blue Emu, a longtime real-life sponsor of RPM, did not take kindly to that action and fired Bubba. While there are many factors that go into this on all sides, ego, attitude, and expectations, one can’t help but wonder…what now is the point of this virtual racing?

If you can lose your real-life sponsor in a digital event where non-cup drivers are competing, how is that not real? I watched just about the whole race. The coverage is vastly different than real races. I had no idea that Bubba had even “rage quit.” How is it different than any driver in real-life wrecking out of a race? This just set a dangerous precedence and NASCAR needs to scramble fast to figure out some rules to this. Clearly, nothing can be for fun anymore.