Denny Hamlin was driving donuts on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. just missed a first-place finish and Homestead-Miami Speedway was rocking during an intense final lap.
It was almost enough to forget it was all a simulation.
Hamlin came out on top in the inaugural eNASCAR iRace, featuring drivers all connected to a simulator and racing each other to raise funds for charities related to the coronavirus pandemic. Hamlin, in particular, had said he'll donate $100 for each lap he led during the 100-lap race and another $5,000 if he won the whole thing. That money will go to help those in the Miami area, where the real Homestead is based.
“It’s always fun when you win,” Hamlin said in a teleconference after the race via NBC Sports. “Regardless, it was a great event for the racing community and the NASCAR drivers to come together to put 20-some drivers together on such short notice. I think it definitely was a success.”
The race came down to a final stretch between Hamlin and Earnhardt Jr. with Hamlin pulling ahead in the final seconds as Timmy Hill finished third with Chase Briscoe in fourth and Garrett Smithley in fifth.
Here's the best from NASCAR's exhibition:
The race featured a heavy-hitting lineup of NASCAR personalities including Bobby Labonte, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowki, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as part of the 35-car lineup.
Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds were all on the call for the Fox Sports 1 broadcast.