I really can’t believe I managed to do this… But, I won the first ever Chevy Impala top-level stock car race within the iRacing service. I felt in contention the whole way and I don’t feel like it was just luck – I feel I earned it.
It is the start of a new season, 2008 Season III is finished and now, finally, we’re on Season IV. Here’s how my licenses started the season:
Under an hour before the race, I ran a practice and qualifying session. I felt pretty competitive in the practice using the default advanced setup, so entered the qualifying session at 7:45 pm, setting a time of 47.832. I registered to race at 8:00 pm and found that my qualifying time meant I would line up third in the starting order.
I got a decent start and very quickly found just how little you’re able to see when running in a pack of these new cars. They’re very wide on the back end and the rear wing completely takes away the ability most stock cars give where you can look through the windows of the car ahead for extra vision. So, feeling blind I wanted to get up-front and try to stay out of danger…
I managed to move into 2nd place by lap 2, but by lap 4 had dropped to 8th. I steadily moved up and on lap 16 while in 5th place, I saw an accident ahead of me after someone had taken too much of the apron in the turn… He came up the track and hit someone, who spun straight across my nose, taking my steering out of alignment.
I tried pitting, but when that didn’t work, reset the car. On lap 22 the race would restart and I found myself in a lowly 11th place. There had been a number of cautions already, so I figured it was likely there would be more and knew I either needed to hang back, or push forwards… I pushed forwards!
Over the next four laps I had an incredible run. I moved from 11th to 2nd almost magically as the spaces just opened up for me. There was a little scare when someone made door to door contact with me – but for the most part I just had to stay patient and wait for the gap.
For the next 17 laps (until lap 42) I ran in 2nd place, seemingly unable to make a pass (I knew that nobody would help me on the high side if I pulled out). Then, going around turns 3 and 4 at Daytona I saw the leader drifting up in the turn and knew I needed to stick my nose in the gap… Thankfully the other driver was clean and although he tried very hard to squeeze me into lifting off completely to give him room – I didn’t… I took the lead!
We went through another couple of cautions and then restarted for the final time on lap 62 of 65. I had heard the former leader talking during the cautions and had seen them working on the high line on the previous green flag laps, so I knew they would be coming hard – and they did – because with about 2 laps to go I had already accepted I probably wouldn’t win…
As it turns out, a car in the low lane drifted up and hit the side of the 3rd car in the high line, this slowed that third car down enough that he lost the draft to the cars ahead, meaning that for just a few seconds we were 3 on the bottom and 2 on the top and there was no way they were going to win that battle… They gradually drifted back and I won with a best laptime of 46.960 set on lap 23 (during my charge to 2nd place).
It’s unfortunate that my Safety Rating went down, but it’ll work itself out. At least now that I am Class A all I have to worry about is staying above 2.0 to avoid demotion!
I managed to get Sony Vegas from Amazon for an absolute steal (there’s still one there for about $33), so you may notice a few extra effects being slowly brought into my videos! I hope you like this one. It includes my charge between laps 22 and 26, me taking the lead, me leading the pack and then me holding them off for the win.
I grew up in a household where waking up at 2am to watch races in Australia or Japan were the norm. We were huge fans of motor racing, so playing racing games seems like a natural extension of that.
My first racing game addiction was with Geoff Crammond's 'Formula 1 Grand Prix' released in 1992 on the Commodore Amiga. This game kept me going for a long time thanks to various editing tools which were available, and I continued to play it until I owned a PC. After that, I played through most of the Papyrus and Image Space Inc. titles, but have most fond memories of Grand Prix Legends.
I founded a major sim racing site that led to my employment at iRacing, Image Space Inc. and later on, Studio 397. The difficulty in working in the industry is how little time you often have to play your own games. Quite often I escape with space games instead!
Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.
He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.