NEXT GEN CARS BOLDLY GO TO PODIUM 500 ON FEB. 13, 2022
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 8, 2022) – Podium eSports has announced the return of the Podium 500 for 2022, to be run February 10-13. This year’s edition of the Great Virtual Race, the fourth in the event’s history, will be the first ever to utilize the Next Gen cars of the NASCAR Cup Series.
The Podium 500 is one of iRacing’s largest tournament-style events at the virtual Daytona International Speedway and one of the largest independent special events in all of iRacing. In its first three years, over 500+ drivers have competed to be a part of the 43-car, 200-lap, 500-mile feature race that takes place on Sunday afternoon. The Podium 500 has paid out nearly $20,000 in prize money across the first three editions of the event.
The introduction of the Next Gen cars is the most significant change to this year’s Podium 500 program. Developed over a multi-year period and brought to iRacing last May for the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event at Darlington Raceway, the Next Gen cars represent a new era for NASCAR and for stock car racing. The Podium 500 will be the last major event held at the virtual World Center of Racing before the 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season opener on Feb. 15, and will offer some drivers the last opportunity to practice racing competitively before the season begins.
“We are all heading into the unknown with the introduction of the Next Gen car to the Podium 500,” said Podium eSports’ Chief Communications Officer James Pike. “There are so many new variables in play with this car that no one really knows what to expect. We’re excited to see how it unfolds in the Podium 500.”
The 2022 Podium 500 once again starts with the Preliminary Race for drivers with an Oval iRating of 1499 or lower at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 10. Time Trials return on Friday, Feb. 11 from 7-11 p.m. ET, with the results setting the front row for Sunday’s race and the starting lineups for the eight heat races on Qualifying Day. Over 300+ drivers will compete on Saturday, Feb. 13 in Qualifying Day’s Heat Races, Last Chance Qualifiers and Duels to set the 43-car field for Sunday’s feature event, which begins at 1 p.m. ET. Those who advance to Sunday will race for 200 laps and 500 miles to determine who joins Seth DeMerchant, Daniel Eberhardt and Casey Kirwan as a Podium 500 Champion. The 2022 Podium 500 will be broadcast in its entirety on twitch.tv/podiumesports. To read the rulebook and register, visit www.podiumesports.com.
2022 Podium 500 Schedule
|February 10||Preliminary Race||9 p.m. ET|
|February 11||Time Trials||7-11 p.m. ET|
|February 12||Qualifying Day||12 p.m. ET|
|February 13||Fourth Annual Podium 500||1 p.m. ET|
Qualifying Day Schedule
|Session||Race Time||Laps||In-Sim Time|
|Heat 1||12:15 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 2||1:00 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 3||1:45 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 4||2:30 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 5||3:15 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 6||4:00 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 7||4:45 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|Heat 8||5:30 p.m. ET||20||Afternoon|
|LCQ 1||7:00 p.m. ET||30||Late Afternoon|
|LCQ 2||8:00 p.m. ET||30||Late Afternoon|
|Duel 1||9:00 p.m. ET||60||Night|
|Duel 2||10:30 p.m. ET||60||Night|
About Podium eSports
Podium eSports, home of broadcasts on the iRacing.com Motorsports Simulation, launched in January 2019. In March 2020, Podium eSports produced the Replacements 100 from Atlanta Motor Speedway, which averaged over 20,000 live views and set a new record for viewership of an iRacing broadcast. In 2020, Podium eSports earned over 325,000 views across all platforms, with over 4.6 million minutes of watched content across 300+ hours of streaming. Podium eSports is the home of Monday Night Racing, the eNASCAR Qualifying and Contender Series, and the Porsche Club of America Sim Racing Series. Podium eSports races are broadcast live on the Podium eSports Twitch Channel, which can be found at twitch.tv/podiumesports. For more information, visit www.podiumesports.com.