Hero of the Day

For as long as we’ve been running articles picking apart iRacing here on PRC.net, I’ve always alluded to many instances of the game’s highly dedicated player base taking things a bit too seriously. Yes, the game has an undeniably awesome set of stat-tracking features that serve to turn each and every race into a meaningful experience, but at the end of the day, it’s still just another video game, and there is no reason to act as if there are NASCAR scouts spectating each group of prominent drivers. Throughout my own iRacing career – and subsequent lifetime ban – one of the aspects that I’ve been extremely vocal about in regards to the community surrounding the title, is how iRacers often fail to remember that online racing really isn’t a big deal. Fellow sim racers on the iRacing servers explode over light contact, hold vendettas on certain users for forum posts deemed offensive, organize mass protests on a single sim racer for merely violating on-track gentleman’s agreements, litter the in-game chat thanking their pretend sponsors,  and generally act as if iRacing has somehow transcended online gaming altogether and become a replacement for Saturday Night Short Track Racing – drama included. Some of this activity would be justified if iRacing was operating on a level similar to Counter-Strike or League of Legends, but they’re not; roughly 2,300 members are online each night – a pitiful number compared to the astronomical figures the aforementioned games reel in on an hourly basis.

It’s been admittedly tough to prove that this side of iRacing exists. Upon merely suggesting that the iRacing community can be egotistic, toxic, and overall detrimental to the state of sim racing, fanboys rush to defend software which costs several times more than the average racing simulator, and label myself – as well as anyone associated with PRC.net – as individuals with an irrational vendetta.

That is, however, until a little birdie dropped me some info about “Hero Cards.”

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The ultimate cost-effective souvenir from any major auto racing event, “Hero Cards” are usually given out free of charge by each team, and essentially serve as “something for a driver to autograph if you’re a cheap bastard and don’t want to visit the T-Shirt trailer.” Traditionally, they feature a high resolution image of the car and driver on the front, with a myriad of statistical goodies on the back, and can be summarized as the hockey cards of the motorsports world. As drivers age, change teams, changes classes, and on some occasions, die, their value goes up, and they serve as a pretty neat memento of yesteryear. If I did some digging in certain portions of the house, I’m sure I could find a binder full of late 1990’s NHRA Hero Cards from when my uncle would take his Top Alcohol Dragster team to Seattle and occasionally Denver – bringing back a bunch of free memorabilia from the events that is now a portal to a lost generation.

Anyways, a guy who wishes to remain anonymous tipped me off that a certain iRacing Pro team had gone off the deep end and started printing Hero Cards for their drivers. This wasn’t like, a quick  drunken Photoshop project done for shits and giggles –such as the guys who render their NASCAR Racing 2003 Season cars in old Racing Champions boxes – they were totally serious. In fact, the story went far beyond this simple art project; the anonymous user claimed that these hero cards were actually being handed out at select NASCAR Sprint Cup races by the drivers themselves.

The mental image of a couple computer nerds walking around a NASCAR event autographing pictures of their video game cars sounded like a phrase generated while playing Cards Against Humanity, but a quick Google Image Search warranted nothing but credibility to these rumors.

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I’ll just let that sink in for a second. Computer nerds who race a bunch of NASCAR games online were legitimately trying to auction off autographed pictures of their iRacing liveries on eBay, as if this were some hard-to-find Jeff Gordon rookie poster. One of these drivers would be 2014 Peak Anti-Freeze Series Champion Ray Alfalla in the blue #2 Ford Fusion, though I am unfamiliar with who would be in the white car pictured above. Now I’ve met some extremely delusional people in my travels away from the computer monitor, and have also documented quite extensively the meltdowns of multiple developers who failed to see that their newest racing sim was little more than a pile of endless bugs, but this right here has set the bar impossibly high. Who does this? This is like, weird.

I mean, I think John from my nearest Subway is a pretty cool guy for having my order of Soup & Cookies ready to go at a moment’s notice, but if he signed a picture he took in NHL 16’s photo mode of his created player and was handing it out during Oilers practices… Yeah, no. Bro, you’re playing a video game. This is too much.

And then I kept digging. This straight up had to be an April Fool’s joke that arrived in my inbox a few days late. You can’t seriously tell me that dudes playing NASCAR on the internet were spending money to print out pictures of their iRacing cars and then autograph them as if they’re some sort of real life race car driver, right?

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Aside from all of the pointless sponsor tags and what appears to be a genuinely nice photo of Peak Anti-Freeze Series participant Bryan Blackford alongside a Vision of Flight rep… I would truly like to know how this exchange was described by employees afterwards.

“Yeah, this dude who kinda looks like Michael from IT came in today with a bunch of pictures of his video game car, and he like, autographed them and stuff.”

Now I’ll play devil’s advocate for a second and at least attempt to defend Slip Angle Motorsports on this one. Competitive online gaming is huge, and you only have to look at the overall scene surrounding titles such as Starcraft, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty to understand that there are a shitload of people who prefer eSports over traditional sports. In South Korea, professional Starcraft players are on-par with North American sports heroes such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, and as a whole the sheer size of these events are fucking impressive. This is hardly a Super Smash Bros. tournament held at your local comic book store.

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But iRacing is not StarCraft. While flying under the NASCAR banner and boasting an impressive payout for first place in the iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series, sim racing as a whole has quite frankly not caught on as an eSport. When attendance numbers are down across the board for NASCAR, Indy Car, and even Formula One – events featuring real human beings strapped inside real cars – there is basically no justifiable reason for people to ever invest time into following virtual motorsports. What instead ends up happening, is that the only people who care about iRacing’s $10,000 Pro Series, are individuals bored enough to click the intrusive advertisements for the live broadcast adorning the official iRacing.com website.

To demonstrate how apathetic sim racers are towards “big time” sim racing championships, you only have to look at the view count for the last event Slip Angle Motorsports participated in. On a quiet Sunday night during a time when most sim racers would have nothing else to do other than watch YouTube videos, the ASCORS ProGeek Cup Series broadcasted a virtual event at Martinsville Speedway. The broadcast received 612 total hits – a number factoring in people who showed up for five minutes to check how their Teamspeak friends were doing before promptly leaving.

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This is apparently the kind of following that validates computer nerds awkwardly passing out autographed pictures of their iRacing rides. Maybe I’m being an anal potato about this, and maybe somewhere this is all part of the plan, but from PRC’s standpoint, all this does is reinforce the fact that some sim racers take iRacing far too seriously for what it is.

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65 thoughts on “Hero of the Day

  1. It has been a never ending barrel of laughs ever since Alfalla made the girl “the first minority NASCAR team manager!” or whatever the crap hilarious thirsty bullshit.

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    1. I thought about putting “Male Lesbian” in the Diversity Program box when I renewed my NASCAR license this year, but maturity got the best of me and I didn’t follow through.

      Kinda wiishing I did tbh fam.

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    2. nevermind the fact that it’s a grill or that she’s a minority or some shit

      but “NASCAR team manager”? without even a little “pretend” bit about the fact that’s video games? that’s overly masturbatory

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  2. It’s kinda weird that some iRacing race broadcast that no one cares about can draw twice as many people as the all-time peak usercount of rF2.

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  3. LMAO! xDDD
    Man the worship towards e”sports” is pretty ridiculous be it sim, MOBA, whatever xD
    People please you are just sitting in front of a computer playing a game, this is not special, it’s cool to make money from it but nothing special.
    Thanks for this article, that sure gave me some laughs 😀 on the other hand the future of humanity is pretty sad D:

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      1. I think there’s a distinction to be drawn between sports which involve physical ability and require you to do things in the real world while esports involve sitting in front of a screen doing things in a game. There’s really no similarity at all and maybe the problem lies in the label “esports” which is perhaps not the most appropriate term for competitive video game playing as “sport” generally implies physical exertion.

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      2. Calling competitive gaming “eSports” is like the most suburban upper middle class white thing in the world, it’s a burden we all have to live with.

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      3. If your sitting in your bedroom,in a comfy chair,not even moving,then SIM racing is not a sport.
        It makes me laugh every time the topic of,this is not a game to me,pops up on iracing forum.
        Fact is,all the biggest briefcases,across the world sign up for iracing,take it way too seriously,and class themselves as real ra ing drivers.
        I like iracing,I take it seriously,but it’s still a fucking game,it’s not a sport,and it’s no where near real life.
        But just like the forums are full of high school nerds that got bullied,and now get there revenge in said forums,so do they have to feel like simracing is as macho as the real deal.
        It’s not a sport,it’s not real,it’s a fucking game you play on a pc,in your bedroom.
        Get a fucking life you bunch of briefcase mongs.

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      4. Neither real life auto racing is a sport. You just sit on a chair and maneuver a steering wheel and pedals. Yes there is physical activity involved, you get tired and fatigued, but so you do on chess, counter strike, sim racing, pool.

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      5. Try to be a professional athlete (honestly even amateur competitions will give u an idea) and then go back home sit comfy in front of your screen and play a video game. I think you’ll be able to tell the difference.

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      6. Also to the guy above: to say real life racing is not a sport you are just being as dumb as those that say “esports”. Don’t confuse driving your street car with a race car.

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      7. Either auto racing is a sport and sim racing can also be esport, or both are none. E-sport stands for electronic sport. Which means is a sport practiced through an electronic device. We are not saying this is the sport we’ve known for millenniums, but electronic sport. Understand the difference.

        Either way, even if you don’t want to call any of the computer games played at high level competition as esports, then you will at least conclude it is Professional Gaming.

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      8. Your reasoning isn’t sound, just so you know. And the whole concept of esports and professional gaming is just absurd. I don’t care what anyone says it is not as impressive as athletic or sport achievements and just reeks of geeky people seeking validation because they have no real athletic ability. What’s better? A real racing driver or someone driving on a sim in his basement? A real football player or someone who’s good at a football video game?

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      9. Understand the difference. Sport – Esport. Esport is not sport. It is Electronic Sport. No one said competing in a game on a pc or console is = to competing in a game on a football field, basketball court, tennis court, athletics track, swimming pool. No one is saying that esport = sport. Each is its own thing. But the basis of competition, be it amateur, semi-pro, professional, remains between both.

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      10. Esports is the new “sports”. Haven’t you noticed? Literally no one under the age of 25 watches real life sports on TV anymore. The current generation is too retarded to gather focus for more than 15min, so all they can watch is E-sports because most matches in most games don’t last that long, and since they’ve never exercised their whole life (seriously, ask pediatricians or child psychiatrists, parents don’t allowe their children to go outside anymore because they might get sick/injure themselves/actually do something to get healthy) the only “exercise” they know is moving their arms while watching at a computer monitor.

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    1. I am typically a fan of the author and was involved with some previous legitimate concerns with iracing.

      I’m familiar with the pieces and tone here so I expect some slight with every article. This has gone way to far. You’re making a mockery of people turning a hobby into financial gain. Interestingly, I have more sponsorship funs for my sim race team than some local real teams, more than I care to share here… are we putting that on blast? No but we are taking a professional approach to what we do and you mocking it helps no one, it’s simply a talking point for taking shots at someone trying to run a small business. Even if I’m not a fan of this team, I think your position is ignorant and nearsited, good for them if it works. Mocking the group that provides you with your content is poor form and if it ever did fail you’d be out of a lot of material to mock.

      I’m dissappointed with this piece of conjecture.

      For a lot of people who can’t afford physical cars and entries, or choose to sim race instead, this is serious. In my opinion you should be supporting these efforts, using constructive criticism instead of your cynical m.o.

      you’ve lost a supporter here

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  4. This is embarrassing behavior. It’s a GAME. These guys just can’t let go of the racing driver dream. It’s sad in a way, but it’s more pathetic than anything else.

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  5. It’s a bit like cosplay really. Fun for some, mega embarrassing for everyone else. I love Monster Hunter, but you don’t see me walking around with a foam Greatsword.

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    1. That’s only when new stuff is realeased,and those that have given up on all the issues come back to check if they have been fixed.
      It soon drops back down,it’s a good job too,as the server can’t handle 4000 members and grinds to a craw.

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      1. I use iRacing very regularly, and have never seen less than 3k users on at any one time at EU evenings and weekend times.

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      2. Actually the last build update was over 6,000 users at one time and it did not crash. Things have improved when it comes to the scalability of their servers it seems. But yes before the last release things sucked once it hit 4k. But 4k is very much a normal day now, especially on weekends.

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  6. Watching that kind of crap and rooting for virtual champions when you could just log in and do exactly the same thing they are doing in a matter of minutes? Not to mention asking for autographs…

    Honestly, I’m long beyond the point of watching the actual real life broadcasts. A bunch of delusional nerds having a multiplayer session in iRacing? No, thanks. I’d rather watch the paint dry.

    Simulators are a serious enough hobby for me, make no mistake, but that’s just beyond ridiculous.

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  7. Holy shit that’s hilarious. Funny thing is, there are a few guys who stream iRacing on Twitch who have much more fame/fortune than the sim racing “professionals” ever will.

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  8. The reason why iRacing is not popular spectator entertainment is because nobody plays iRacing. If you compare to those popular eSport titles, every one have devoted player base counted in tens of millions. Part of that group translate into eSport spectators.

    iRacing can never spark the interest of regular non-playing sports viewer. It is only just bad and restricted imitation of with real world racing, which itself tends to be very boring for new spectators at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What happened to playing on Friday night with a few friends? Or that one online race where you race a bunch of strangers and totally nail it although you’re usually at the back? Isn’t that what being the hero of the day should mean?

    Even with simracing most of us can’t just login and do the same thing as the top players, but that was never the point (or was it)? Wouldn’t it be really weird if PRC would suddenly start selling A. Ogonoski hero cards? Even if I respect your skill on the (pretend) track it would still be messed up.

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  10. Is eSports a Sport? Easy answer:
    Darts, Archery, and all this similar Sports, are considered Sport (And you barelly sweat doing it), even Equestrianism is a olimpic sport…

    Everybody here is killing the people that prints the cards of their Sim Racing career, but someone is asking for them! This is the people we should look at. what’s their motivation, their intentions by asking a printed photo with a signature of a Sim Racer.

    If some one comes to me with a printed photo of my car asking for a signature, i would do it, without problems. But i would really impressed with the person asking for this…

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  11. This is so pathetic, I would laugh my ass off if some random video game nerd would offer me signed “hero” cards with video game car printed on it.

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    1. Of course, but that’s because they haven’t reached the star level as people from hollywood, singers, or drivers from F1, Nascar, GT3.

      In my opinion, you would treat the sim racer Gregger Huttu differently than other unknown sim racer if you met them in real life. Even if you wouldn’t much, Huttu would be less indifferent to you than an unknown sim racer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Revering anyone is simply bloody stupid. They are just some other people like you. They are not gods or anything. They have great skills? Well, learn to improve yours instead of looking up to them.
        Being in awe with someone will leave you secondary. And even if you will manage to beat them, that could lead to a great disappointment.

        Being co-respective with other people regardless of the skill is the way to go.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What’s the problem if I take pleasure in admiring an actor, a race driver, a football player, a singer, a swimmer? Either through their personality, skills, or the content they produce.

        And the same in esports. I like several players and teams in csgo. I can see they have great skills, attitude, commitment.

        Don’t assume that everyone wants to be like them. I simply like and possibly admire some of the things they do, and follow their content/career. But I do my own things, I enjoy my things, be it in their area or mine.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nothing wrong with enjoying particular pieces of content, be it created by them or by anybody else. It’s just that you can’t possibly expect the content to always be of a good quality.
        In fact, the content quality is not in the direct correlation with who or what its author is. Though certainly there is a higher probability of a better quality content from a source that proved useful at least once, yet realistically one shouldn’t expect that source to be at its prime for long.

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  12. In fairness on the first picture, Kaz Grala does run a full time K&N Pro series schedule, and is running part time in the truck series this year. That said, I can’t say I’d pay to have his signature on anything.

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  13. Jesus tapdancing Christ, this is sad.

    I used to race against a lot of these types of egos every night, during the N3 years all the way to NR2003. Good to see they’re still out there, making big deals of themselves.

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  14. If you are too weak to do real sports in a professional way, just have a seat in your armchair and play video games and then dream of being a real star.

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  15. I took a screenshot of my DW12, edited it to make it look pretty, put my name, some sponsor logos and printed it as a hero card. I did it just for the fun of it. I printed one and put in on my wall, that’s it. I believe there’s a long way from that to print hundreds of them, sign them and then give them away to random people pretending I am Scott Dixon.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. People like you like to remind everyone how unimportant it is because you aren’t any good. For many people, this is the only racing they can participate in so to them it IS a big deal. Great job, you’re a real winner.

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  17. A website entirely dedicated to sim racing, mocking people for taking sim racing too seriously. The hypocrisy is high on this one.

    Like

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