June 13, 2005

It's in the Game: Two days before he won the Pocono 500, NASCAR rookie Carl Edwards had never seen one of the Nextel Cup's most difficult tracks -- driving it only in a videogame. "It's a NASCAR game that you can buy on the shelf,'' he said.

posted by rcade to auto racing at 01:26 PM - 15 comments

I think it was MTV's "True Life: I'm a Gamer" that showed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Bobby Labonte playing EA's NASCAR game for training purposes. Apparently this year it was even more valulable as a training device because EA had access to the design specs for new courses, so the only way to practice in advance was to play the game. Some day when we all work in EA's version of The Matrix, we'll wish we stopped them when we had a chance.

posted by yerfatma at 02:20 PM on June 13, 2005

...follow the white rabbit....

posted by garfield at 03:53 PM on June 13, 2005

It's only scary that EA is becoming gaming's newest titan, following on the heels of monopolies like the colossal Atari, Nintendo, and Sony; it's downright frightening that their video games are now influencing the results of reality.

posted by PhoenixRenaissance at 09:14 PM on June 13, 2005

The drivers are full of it when they say it helps them on the track. You can't see the track in the same way on the game as you can on the track. The guy is just a good driver.

posted by YelirNoj at 12:16 AM on June 14, 2005

That's one of the most difficult tracks? It only has three corners. And they all look about half a mile long. Saying you got good at that particular track by playing it on a video game is like saying you got good at the luge by lying on the sofa. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I genuinely have some sort of sporting appreciation blindspot going on here - what's hard about it?

posted by JJ at 07:41 AM on June 14, 2005

I'm no NASCAR expert, but aren't most of the tracks ovals? And maybe one road course in New York that they may have dropped from the Rota? So by having 50% more turns than every or almost every other track it would be easily to say that one is harder just from a "what shape is the loop" standpoint.

posted by gspm at 09:13 AM on June 14, 2005

i would assume finding what lines are faster (high vs. low), how a car behaves coming out of a turn, good spots to pass, etc. are some of the things in the game that help the real NASCAR driver.

posted by garfield at 10:17 AM on June 14, 2005

Doesn't this speak loudly to how the "sport" of driving is not populated by "athletes"? Will we ever hear the same story from, say, a soft- around- the- middle desk jockey pushing 35 boasting "Yeah, my 4 HR outburst at Yankee Stadium was from playing it in MVP Baseball" or "That 31 on the back nine at Augusta was thanks to the extra time I put in on Tiger Woods for the xbox360!"? I mean seriously! It's not a sport, folks... it's a video game, but with a little more smoke and more toothless fans in the seats. Little else. (And the first person to mention g forces is gonna have me drive to their house and whack them upside the head. =P )

posted by hincandenza at 10:32 AM on June 14, 2005

Wow Hal. I never thought someone could be that ill-informed.

posted by YelirNoj at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2005

So, does this mean Tony Stewart plays Mario Kart before racing?

posted by chris2sy at 12:14 PM on June 14, 2005

YelirNoj, while clearly competitive auto racing is not the same as driving your Honda Accord on a public road, I too have to wonder whether athleticism is the primary requirement of a successful NASCAR racer.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:55 PM on June 14, 2005

I am no NASCAR fan, but I think this sport-not-a-sport debate is simple cover for "I don't like racing". If we're going to trade in specious logic, how come I ain't seen no fat guys in NASCAR? Drag racin' has got 'em. My bachelor party was at F1 Boston. We only did a dozen or so laps and that was a damn beating I took.

posted by yerfatma at 03:16 PM on June 14, 2005

Hal, never been to a race have you..... Takes more endurance and concentration than any other sport. No breaks other than caution laps until the end....

posted by pak88fan at 06:30 PM on June 14, 2005

Of course it's a sport - saying it isn't is like saying running isn't a sport because you wear shoes when you do it. If NASCAR requires anything like the level of fitness required of Formula one drivers, then they're fitter than the rest of us put together. Now that i think about it though - if all the corners are going in the same direction, do the drivers all have massively lob-sided bodies? Hugely over-developed muscles in one side of their necks etc? (I still don't get it though)

posted by JJ at 04:21 AM on June 15, 2005

Takes more endurance and concentration than any other sport. I enjoy NASCAR, but that's overstated. These drivers often race on Saturday and Sunday, and some have even raced a NASCAR and Indy event on the same day. If the requirements were as onorous as you claim, these drivers would be too wiped after a 500 to even consider other events the same weekend. There are numerous sporting events that require more endurance, such as the Tour de France, running marathons, and cross-country skiing.

posted by rcade at 06:30 AM on June 15, 2005

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