RMNB is sponsoring Ryan Ellis as he tries to drive his way into NASCAR’s nationally-broadcast, virtual race at Texas

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, NASCAR has postponed all its races in the coming weeks. But unlike the other major sports, NASCAR has been able to weather the storm better than others due to iRacing – an online video game. Unlike in NHL simulation games, real-life NASCAR drivers are driving and shifting their digital cars from home, making the races just as exciting and, at times, ridiculous.

Last Sunday, NASCAR raced at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and it was nationally broadcast on FS1. All of the superstar drivers in the sport participated — such as Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex, Jr, Jimmy Johnson, Matt DiBenedetto, and Chase Elliott — while Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Larry McReynolds provided commentary. Clint Bowyer also provided hilarious “in-car” analysis.

Denny Hamlin won the race (from his “rig” reportedly costing tens of thousands of dollars) in a photo finish, narrowly beating Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who came out of “retirement” to participate. According to CNET, FOX Sports said the first race was the most-watched esports event broadcast on television with 903,000 viewers. So many people watched that FOX will air the entire eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series over the next month and a half.

Moving forward, RMNB will be sponsoring NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis as he tries to race into Sunday’s virtual race at Texas (1 PM, FOX & FS1) and throughout the rest of the tour. Ellis, a big Capitals fan and RMNB reader, grew up in Ashburn, VA and played on George Mason’s hockey team.

Video

“After I read your note about how the website was scuffling with the NHL season paused, I wanted to do what I could to help and bring joy to your readers,” Ellis said of the sponsorship.

The number 78 race car was designed by Ben Horton, a simulation race painter at Horton Designs (follow him on Twitter and Facebook). The hood features the RMNB logo overlaid on an ice texture on the hood. The blog’s URL, russianmachineneverbreaks.com, is written underneath with a skate lace-inspired font face.

Here’s a closer look at the car’s design.

Photos

To make Sunday’s nationally-televised Texas race at 1 PM with all the big-name drivers, Ellis must perform well in the qualifying race at 10:55 AM, which will be streamed live on NASCAR’s website and on the Youtube below. 34 drivers will be vying for just a few transfer spots into the big Pro Invitational Series race so it should be wild.

Qualifying Race Video Stream

“My goal is just to survive the first part of the race and capitalize on everyone else driving like crazy people,” Ellis said. “Qualifying will be really important because the race is so short.”

Throughout the week, Ellis has participated in practice and has performed well.

In Saturday night’s tuneup race, Ellis finished fifth and was ahead of last week’s winner, Denny Hamlin.

“iRacing definitely has its quirks, but overall is really realistic,” Ellis said. “The cars are very similar to what we race but to be really good at it, it takes its own art and skill set. That’s why guys like Kurt and Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are riding around in 30th when they’re obviously extremely talented racecar drivers.”

RMNB has sponsored Ellis before… in real life. RMNB’s logo was on Ryan’s ScienceLogic car when he made his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at Pheonix in November 2015. RMNB was also Ryan’s primary sponsor at the XFINITY Dover race in October 2016. RMNB is the first hockey blog to ever sponsor a NASCAR. Ellis has a Capitals helmet signed by the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup team and has worn a Deadguins shirt under his uniform at Talladega.

Even if Ellis doesn’t make Sunday’s final race, there are rumblings that NASCAR may begin running XFINITY races on Friday nights, which Ellis would automatically be apart of.

So regardless of what happens Sunday, the number 78 RMNB Ford should be getting some TV time over the next few weeks. We hope you watch along with us.

Videos from the Homestead digital race

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