MOORESBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – While real-time sporting events are put on hold amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s one sport that is taking center stage — esports.
Late model dirt racing, NASCAR and other motorsports would be racing right now, but drivers have turned to another platform while their real-world races remain postponed — iracing.
And big names in the world of racing are trying their hand at it, including National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist
Bloomquist has racked up over 600 victories including 9 national championships in dirt racing, but is new on the iracing scene.
Bloomquist’s first time on his new rig, Dale Earnhart Jr’s one, was the week of his first nationally televised race.
The decorated driver received the machine on that Sunday, competed in a race the following day, and three days later had to prepare for primetime.
The biggest challenge for Bloomquist, getting acclimated to the machine.
“At first, when I first started doing it I was so tense, I mean it would wear me out. And now I’m comfortable enough to run 100 laps if I had to.”
Noting practice is key as the machine can be touchy when racing. Set-up of the rig is also key, especially in simulated racing.
“It’s amazing how the race track changes like the real race tracks do” says Bloomquist, “The longer you run on them the spots get slick. You have to be really “finnessful” with your fuel and you can’t over steer.”
While Bloomquist says it still does not compare to real-time dirt racing, some similarities to real-time racing include the throttle petal, and learning to have control to avoid over throttling–something he is working on.
“I was over throttling most of the time, and making the car get loose, and you can do that with our cars all the time. I’ve learned how to really be easy with the fuel and keep the car as straight as you can but keep it turning.”
And when it comes to the build up on race day, the veteran driver says he feels more pressure when it comes to iracing because he’s not on the same playing field yet as the other experienced drivers.
In his first nationally televised invitational, he got into a wreck in the first lap, which took him out of the race as it was hard to get back in it, noting switching the set up last minute threw his game off. But as a true competitor, he’s eager to master the machine.
“I mean it’s a good exercise and as soon as we get where we can race with the front guys, I think it’s going to be quite addictive.”
World of Outlaws Iracing events continue to gain popularity as races are broadcasted live on national television every Wednesday night.