As former NASCAR champion and now broadcaster Daryl Waltrip is famous for saying at the start of every race. “Boogity, boogity, boogity! Let’s go racin boys!”
Finally, the season is upon us, both simulation league racing, and real racing for 2010. Anticipation to competitively race Forza3 has never been higher; every IFCA event is at or near their 100 driver limit for the first time. Membership has dramatically increased as well. Though there has been some grumblings that the IFCA should open up series events to more than 100 drivers per event, the reasoning for not doing so is the 100 limit friends list of XBL. It takes a great deal of communication and coordination to orchestrate a good series event, –even when you can have everyone on a list, it’s a problem. Because of the limited event space, many clubs and teams have resorted to signing up groups just to secure a spot, even if someone in their group might not be able to race. Something the IFCA frowns on.
This sudden rise in popularity to simulation race can be directly linked back to the new FM3 multiplayer match-making hopper system. It seems that the Forza community is resolute in their rejection of the new system, as being “too limited,” and “inflexible.” It lacks the freedom of choice and variety of the old system, effectively driving people away from it, and in some cases away from the game altogether. This exodus away from the once popular public lobby multiplayer system, has resulted in a mass migration of drivers to seek out league racing more then ever before. League racing offers many of the same fun aspects that were lost in FM3 public lobbies, most notably a fair and level playing field.
Public lobbies have always been known for their lack of clean and fair racing in the past, but because of single host control, freedom of choice, freedom of association, and variety racing, dirty racing could be kept to a minimum, and policed by those in the room. The new multiplayer system has none of these natural game-play checks and balances.
The new “hopper” system was designed to be more automated, taking the decision making out of the hands of the public and streamlining the experience so that more races could occur per hour raced, than less. It was probably erroneously thought by “Turn10” that by nullifying the single host freedom and power to manage a public lobby would also help reduce single host abuses. Something that did occur but was no where near the epidemic problems created without a single host controlled lobby.
In the old system if you didn’t like the host and his way of managing a lobby you could always move on to a new one, and quickly find the kind of racing you were looking for. You might even be able to negotiate certain concerns or options to the host and make suggestions for changes before leaving the lobby, if you wanted to.
The current lack of social interaction, along with being unable to freely associate with those who might like the same types of racing conditions, has all but eliminated the regular chance to constantly meet new people of a like-mind. Instead, you are randomly thrown in a lobby and relying on chance that it’s full of people that like to race the way you do.
One more problem to reduce your odds of meeting new people like yourself is that people don’t use microphones as much anymore. In FM2 with the single host control, you better have your mic on so that people could talk to you and you to them, –so that cleaner racing without crashing could happen, or you got the, “boot!” Today, the power of the “boot” is gone, and people have no incentive to use a mic if they don’t have to. This has resulted in silent rooms of more crashing, dirty driving, and less socializing. All the sorts of things I’m sure T10 was trying to avoid in the first place.
Replacing the power and lead authority of an FM2 style single host in public lobbies, is mob rule democracy. Everyone in the room has a single vote to pass on a track, and/or kick someone out on a whim. Not surprisingly teams or gangs of people are now able to fully disrupt a room as long as they have the votes to do it.
It is for these anti-social behavioral reasons that people have fled the new public lobby multiplayer system, and moved towards the safer more controlled racing environment of organized league play. People are looking to have fun, respect, and clean racing. None of which can be easily found in the new random multiplayer hoppers.
With so many new to league play, it’s probably a good idea to highlight a few things for their benefit. Understand that league racers are at the pinnacle of the sport of simulation racing. This isn’t to suggest that all league racers are extremely fast, only that they are extremely serious about having good clean racing.
It is presumed that by entering a mature league you will be leaving behind any bad immature driving habits and are ready to explore the art and science of clean sim-racing at the highest level. League racing is where you learn to appreciate a clean pass and greater sportsmanship. A certain ‘give and take’ is expected in league racing between competitors which allows for the closest most thrilling racing you can have.
League veterans will tell you even they get butterflies before qualifying, and jitters on the first lap of a race. The pressure is intense no matter where you are on the grid. Whether you are in the “A” lobby, or the “J” lobby, the competitive juices will be on fire when the green flag drops. Try to stay calm, keep your mind focused, stay out of trouble, and remember the race can’t be won on the first lap.
The IFCA NASCAR replication series kicks off this Friday. This popular Stock Car series mirrors the actual NASCAR schedule which begins its season with the, “Daytona 500” this weekend. 2009 defending champion #999 “BOGAF” returns to try his hand with the new R3-Class Cup race cars.
Nearly 80 competitors have thrown their hat into the ring to chase the cup this year. The cars are closer than ever in performance too, as the same car is used by every driver each race. All 3 NASCAR makes will be used along with a restrictor plate version of each car during the year.
Qualifying is by Tuesday night midnight CST, and produces the closest qualifying times of any series. The top 25 qualifiers are usually separated by no more than 0.4sec! Like real NASCAR you have to be more than fast to win, you have to be smart with a little luck on your side too.
The field itself is full of past winners and series champions such as, #25 inviseco, #666 Wstewart1206, #428 GLR1FastRedneck, #53 F4H Gashi X, and #4 AAR GTDon, with a new group of highly talented rookies such as, #706 EZT Chuck, #180 TPR Lewis 8D, #424 RpM BreMbo, #369 TweetyONI, #603 PpR JALOBO, #426 GLR b0x, and #535 VVV c0dak. This is going to be good!
As for the real series the buzz was all about another rookie sensation, Danicka Patrick. The IRL star showed the boys that she was well up to the task of driving these 3500lbs beast in her ARCA debut, finishing a respectable 6th place. This success has lead her to justify entering the Nationwide Series this weekend in her #7 Godaddy.com Chevrolet.
The big boys in the Cup series, –or should I say old guys, long time legend Mark Martin sits on pole for the first time at the Daytona 500. Martin had a time of 47.783 seconds, translating to an average of 191.188 mph. It is something he said he has “watched … with envy of the guys who sit on the front row” for 26 years. Martin has had 48 career poles in NASCAR prior to this year. Though Martin has 40 career Sprint Cup wins, he has never won here. His best finish was second in 2007, a mere 0.020 seconds behind Kevin Harvick.
Earnhardt qualifying second, has a pair of wins at Daytona, but hasn’t won in his last 57 Sprint Cup starts.
There were some surprises among the faster qualifiers too. Bill Elliott had the fourth-best speed of the day in his Wood Brothers Ford. Elliott owns the Daytona qualifying record, likely never to be surpassed, of 42.783 seconds (210.364 mph), in the pre-restrictor plate era in 1987. (For comparison the IFCA restrictor plate car which is an older Cup car runs sub 42.5s at about 200mph on the slightly shorter 2.44 mile Sunset Speedway.)
The 54-year-old Elliott is among 19 drivers who must qualify for the 500 on time, without the luxury of last year’s owner’s points. Either Elliott or Bobby Labonte could also make the field with a provisional as a past NASCAR champ.
Fifty four drivers qualified, with 43 spots available in the Daytona 500. Forty of those qualifiers surpassed last season’s pole-winning time, by Martin Truex Jr., of 47.872 seconds.
If you’ve never done it NASCAR style you owe it to yourself to give it a try while there are still about 20 slots open. You won’t believe how hard it is to win a race like this, or how fun it is to try, if you don’t.
Our track tip of the day is for Sedona (Speedway).
A near clone of Homestead Miami Speedway, but with a twist! A strange angle for turn 2 requires a high line entrance to shoot you to the bottom as you exit 2. No down force here, and stiff suspension is all you need.
See you at the races,