Like all other racing series, Nascar has engaged in eSports as well calling their effort, eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. They held an event with 32 drivers using the Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday in which Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. had a bad start, got punted in to the wall and ended up rage-quitting.
Bubba had a coming together with Clint Bowyer and after that altercation, he decided he’d had enough and quit the game.
“That’s it. That’s why I don’t take this s*** serious. Peace out!”
He took a lot of flack from folks on social media and responded to the shade on Twitter saying:
“Bahaha I’m dying at my mentions right now…
I ruined so many peoples day by quiting..a video game..
Bahaha. A video game. Damn quarantine life is rough”
On the surface of it, end of story but it didn’t stop there. His real-life sponsor and new sponsor to NASCAR, Blu-Emu tweeted back to Bubba saying:
“GTK where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We’re interested in drivers, not quitters.”
It seems that Blu-Emu CEO, Ben Blessing, takes it seriously and has now ended his sponsorship of Bubba Wallace telling Action Network:
“We aren’t sponsoring Bubba anymore,” Blessing said. “Can you imagine if he did that in real life on a track?”
Seriously? This is sim racing, not the real deal and not everyone is an ardent user of sim racing games. They may tend to treat it like playing a video game on their Playstation to be honest.
Did NASCAR or Blu-Emu tell the drivers that this was as serious as a real NASCAR race? If they did, I find that laughable given there are eSport gamers playing too. These are professional drivers, not online gamers.
I understand that if a driver took sponsor money to do the iRacing series, then quitting the game might be a seriously bad move on the driver’s part and perhaps that’s what happened here but I find the entire weight being placed on the eSport sim racing thing right now, way over the top.
It’s a damn game, not real racing and trying to make it anything more than that is just building a house of cards where money is spent on a facade. It can be fun, entertaining, monetized and a revenue stream for sure but not at the levels that real racing is. Should it have the same consequences as real racing if a driver decides this isn’t his bag? I’ll let you decide.