NASCAR and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway are partnering with the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation to launch an iRacing league that commenced last week in East St. Louis. The center, located less than four miles from the track, provides after-school, summer and academic programming for youth in underserved communities. NASCAR provided iRacing rigs to the center as well as the required equipment and software for iRacing and NASCAR Heat 3.
iRacing is the leading simracing software. Developed as a centralized racing and competition service, iRacing organizes, hosts and officiates races on virtual tracks all around the world. NASCAR launched eNASCAR in 2018, including three main series’, the eNASCAR PEAK Anifreeze iRacing Series, featuring virtual replicas of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars, the eNASCAR Ignite Series, the first-ever youth racing competition on iRacing to attract and identify young talent and the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, featuring 14 of the top NASCAR teams battling for supremacy on NASCAR Heat 3, a racing video game developed by Monster Games and published by 704Games.
“The efforts of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program are on full display here at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center,” said Curtis Francois, owner and president of World Wide Technology Raceway. “This provides an incredible opportunity for World Wide Technology Raceway to fully engage with our local community and couple the excitement of racing with STEM education. Our intent is to build a STEM development structure for the kids that can be duplicated and used across the country in areas where there are similar opportunities.”
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson met with a group of summer camp participants. A NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series truck provided by the track was also on display. Additionally, 250 tickets were provided to the youth, chaperones and families to attend both the ARCA and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a highly respected, world-class Olympic athlete in the St. Louis community and beyond, has been personally involved with the partnership and is excited about its expansion.
“Having the partnership with Gateway and NASCAR allows us to expose our kids to different fields,” said Joyner-Kersee. “We talk about STEM and what greater way to have simulators where they can really figure out speed and distance while also having fun. This partnership will allow us to continue to grow what we’re doing in the community.”
The center consists of 150 children ages six to 14 and all have access to the simulators. The iRacing league runs from June to August and is divided into three age groups. The top three in each group will receive a trophy and be recognized at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at World Wide Technology Raceway on August 24.