CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott hasn't gone iRacing in nearly 10 years, but the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE dipped his toes back into the virtual racing world Sunday for the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event.
Elliott said it had been a while since he sat down in the simulator and competitively raced, but that he had hoped iRacing got a lot of exposure after the virtual race at Homestead was deemed a hit.
“It’s changed a lot since I did it. I haven’t messed with it in a long time," Elliott said. "I think I was 14 or 15 – somewhere in there – outside of doing things like NASCAR productions with it … but actually sitting down and playing with it, I don’t know. I haven’t done it since then.
"It’s still similar to the way it used to be, but it’s changed a lot. Ten years is a long time and it’s come a long way with a lot of the technology and how the tires wear and (how) the groove moves around a little bit.”
Elliott and the Hooters machine finished 24th in the race. With sports, including NASCAR, on pause for the foreseeable future, Elliott said iRacing is the closest fans and drivers can get to the competition and that he needs more practice.
While some drivers, including Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, have a hefty resume with the program, Elliott expressed he was glad he was able to have fun with it, despite not being as experienced.
"I was lucky just to make sure I was in there on time and (I) only crashed three times, so I thought that was a win for me," he said.
Elliott currently is in his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia, while NASCAR is on hiatus. Other drivers used their crew to help spot and give direction during the race, but Elliott had competitor Ryan Blaney on hand to serve as his spotter and crew chief.
"We were just having fun with it, really," Elliott said. "He was just hanging out and kind of running back and forth between where I was racing and then watching it on TV. It was fun, we had a good time with it. But it was not the most serious thing. We were having more fun than being worried about making the right pit call."
Does that mean Blaney will be on hand to serve as Elliott's interim crew chief if he joins another event?
"I don’t know if anyone’s going to drive four hours to watch me run a virtual race," Elliott said. "Maybe another time."