The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns on Tuesday, May 18, with another virtual race. A special guest will join in on the NASCAR fun while fulfilling an important role at the virtual Circuit of the Americas. Country artist Drew Parker will serve as grand marshal and tell the drivers to start their virtual engines.
Parker sat down with Heavy on Sunday, May 16, to discuss his important role as the grand marshal and how he might approach the situation. Several prominent figures, such as Troy Aikman and Rob Gronkowski, have taken different approaches to their own virtual calls while bringing different levels of energy. There is a fine line between too much and not enough energy.
“I’ll tell you what, that was a tough one,” Parker told Heavy about his decision. “I feel like if you’re at the real race, and you get that thing, and the energy’s there, it’s probably pretty easy to do. Getting ready to do it for this deal through like a Zoom call-type thing is… it’s different.
“But I think iRacing excites me and I love [it] and I’m like, ‘well, if I’m not fired up, these guys aren’t gonna be fired up.’ So you just kind of buy into that and just give it a pretty good bit of energy.”
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at Circuit of the Americas will take place Tuesday, May 18, at 9 p.m. ET. The eNASCAR website will provide coverage for the virtual race, as well as Parker’s call for the drivers to start their engines.
Parker Is a Major Supporter of the iRacing Platform
Serving as the grand marshal will not be the first time that the country singer has gotten involved with the iRacing platform. He is a proponent of virtual racing and actually spends some of his free time facing off with some big names.
“You know I’ve always been a fan and it was something that I wanted to [do]” Parker told Heavy. “I was like, ‘well how do I do this? I travel and play music on the weekends I can’t be going to the racetrack, I can’t afford a race car.'”
When his touring schedule came to a halt due to COVID-19, Parker went and signed up for iRacing. He decided that it was time to get involved in virtual racing and see what it was like. Parker logged on and immediately heard about a race featuring the 15-time Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“One night I was on there and I think Dale Jr. was streaming on Twitch, and I heard him mention something about giving out the password to the race that they were going to be doing,” Parker added. “He mentioned my buddy — or our buddy — Tim Dugger. I knew Tim from being in Nashville and the music business, so I hit him up and said, Hey, what’s that password to that race.’
“So, I’ve been there with him and really right off the bat, like the month of the same month that I got it. I started racing with those guys and just really loved it. I think what it was the one place during the pandemic where I could go and just forget about everything. It was kind of my getaway at night. They work my tail every week.”
Parker Will Adjust His iRacing Schedule With the Return to Touring
With eased restrictions around the country, Parker is able to get back out on the road and play music for his fans. He is setting up some dates in Arkansas, Louisiana, and other states, which will keep him on the move and potentially keep him from participating in some iRacing events. Though Parker said that he is trying to figure out a way to take his racing rig on the road and purchase a new one for his home.
Regardless of whether he gets a rig for the road, Parker will embrace the opportunity to once again perform live music. His career has grown over the past year despite the lack of touring, resulting in two sold-out shows.
“It feels so good to be back doing what I really know how to do and what I really enjoy,” Parker told Heavy. “You know, the fans have been dying for us to get back on the road and play this music, and they’re showing up, man. It feels so good to be back to somewhat normalcy and playing live music and having live events — just any kind of live event.”
Parker is currently preparing to spend the summer on the road while getting back to performing for live audiences. He has all of his tour dates on his official website. His EP, “While You’re Gone,” is available on all streaming platforms.