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NASCAR driver ragequits after getting wrecked in an online race

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(Image credit: NASCAR)

The coronavirus outbreak has pro sports leagues of all stripes scrambling to find ways to keep their audiences entertained. The world of auto racing is leaning heavily into virtual performances, with F1, NASCAR, and FIA all holding recent official events. It's a natural fit: Online racing is already common and sometimes extremely realistic, so a simulated race can come much closer to delivering "the real thing" than, say, Finnish hockey playoffs (opens in new tab).

But as realistic as these sims are, they're still videogames at their core, and that means a couple of things: One, that people are going to be a lot more likely to screw around than they would if they were actually stuck inside 3000 pounds of steel and rubber moving at 200 mph; and two, when that happens, sooner or later somebody is going to get mad. Somebody like, for instance, 43 driver Bubba Wallace, who tangled with 14 driver Clint Bowyer at the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series at (simulated) Bristol (opens in new tab).

Bowyer had a somewhat different perspective on the matter:

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Wallace made light of the situation in a later tweet (opens in new tab), but not everyone found it quite so amusing. Blue Emu, "the #1 selling emu oil brand in the United States" (emu oil is used in various forms as a moisturizer, an anti-inflammatory, for pain relief, and other purposes, although little evidence of its efficacy currently exists), ended its sponsorship of Wallace in response to his tweet.

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Wallace's ragequit was definitely the high point of NASCAR's iRacing weekend drama, but it was far from the only moment of excitement. Jimmie Johnson fired his virtual spotter (which I don't think is actually possible, since it's basically an NPC) and Erik Jones apparently needs a new PC.

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Thanks, ESPN (opens in new tab)

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.