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NASCAR: Rob Gronkowski to be grand marshal at Sunday's virtual race

Rob Gronkowski participated in pre-race ceremonies during the 2017 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Beach, Fla. File Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI
Rob Gronkowski participated in pre-race ceremonies during the 2017 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Beach, Fla. File Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI | License Photo

April 1 (UPI) -- Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski will serve as a grand marshal for NASCAR's virtual racing event Sunday, which will air on Fox and FS1.

He will be joined by friend and WWE star Mojo Rawley for the iRacing event on the virtual version of Bristol Motor Speedway. The race is set to begin at 1 p.m. EDT. WWE announced Gronkowski and Rawley as grand marshals for the race on Monday.

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NASCAR has had two eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events since the real-life racing series was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Drivers who compete in iRacing use a computer connected to the Internet, a monitor, steering wheel, driver's seat and pedals to compete against other drivers in virtual races while being watched by fans who subscribe to the events. Drivers from the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series participate in the simulation races.

RELATED NASCAR iRacing: Timmy Hill wins second virtual race at Texas Motor Speedway

The first event -- including a 35-car field -- took place March 22 and drew nearly a million viewers. Last Sunday's event drew more than 1.3 million viewers, with fans watching Cup Series driver Timmy Hill take the checkered flag at the virtual version of Texas Motor Speedway. Fellow Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin won the first race.



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Gronkowski, 30, retired from the NFL after the 2018 season. The five-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl champion was a pace car driver and grand marshal in 2015 at Chicagoland Speedway.

He is also scheduled to host WrestleMania 36 Saturday and Sunday on the WWE Network and pay-per-view. The event will take place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando with no fans in attendance.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman served as grand marshal for last Sunday's race. Aikman gave drivers the command to start their virtual engines in a video posted to social media. A NASCAR spokesman said Gronkowski and Rawley will issue the command in the same manner for Sunday's event.

RELATED NASCAR: Fox to air second virtual race featuring top drivers, announcers

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