iRacers Call for New Stewards, Software Fixes After Las Vegas Confusion

Though Tuesday’s NASCAR iRacing PEAK Anti-Freeze Series was a roaring success for our very own Dustin Lengert and his driver Ryan Luza – capturing their virtual team’s second victory of the season in as many races with a dominant drive which saw Luza pull away by several seconds – iRacing’s most prominent eSport series was far from a celebration of sim racing for all involved. An honest mistake behind the scenes, followed by poor execution in rectifying the error by a pair of stewards already notorious for less than stellar decision making skills, saw one of the participants in the race accidentally booted from the event. This comes only a few weeks after the first round of the 2017 PEAK Anti-Freeze season was attempted a second time, due to the original running of the event falling prey to internal technical issues and forced to continue as a full length non-points exhibition event.

With the organization funded in part by the owner of the Boston Red Sox, as well as NASCAR themselves and a major automotive brand in Peak Anti-Freeze signing on as the title sponsor, you’d think the $10,000 championship would suffer from significantly less hiccups than a private rFactor league run by part-time hobbyists. Unfortunately, for all of the money being pumped into this venture, the first two events of the 2017 have both been marred by amateur mistakes and a lack of foresight, and you start to wonder when PEAK will pull the plug, or at the very least, when a new crop of individuals will be brought in to try and turn this sinking ship around.

The Vegas controversy stems from Peak Anti-Freeze Series competitor Brian Schoenburg, though the problems began with what appears to be an honest mistake instead of any sort of meaningful on-track violation. iRacing allows for live spotting and crew chief functionality, which in basic terms lets you jump in a friend’s session while they’re racing, and make on-the-fly setup adjustments for them or call out the action around them – a co-op campaign mode of sorts, one which is greatly appreciated and one of the objectively cool things about iRacing.

Schoenburg’s spotter password spontaneously reset itself – an issue that has reportedly been known by the staff and not yet received a fix meaning individuals affiliated with rival teams could enter the spotter’s box for Schoenburg at will and both steal his setup, as well as make pitstop adjustments that would fuck with his race strategy, obviously taking him out of contention for the win. iRacing stewards Shannon Whitmore, Tyler Hudson, and Nim Cross Jr. were promptly made aware of the issue, and in the scramble to rectify the situation, booted Brian Schoenburg from the event altogether instead of setting a temporary password on his virtual crew chief capabilities so his actual teammates could access iRacing’s co-op mode and continue on as normal.

Schoenburg was listed as disqualified due to the ineptitude of the head stewards clicking the wrong button, and now the Peak Anti-Freeze Series has been forced to insert a drop week in the points championship to compensate – though seventeen events are listed on the schedule, only a driver’s best sixteen will count in the standings. This will obviously be further complicated by iRacing opting to use NASCAR’s controversial post-season elimination process for the final portion of the season, so we won’t actually see how this affects the hunt for $10,000 until later this year.

Schoenburg made an announcement about the incident on his personal Facebook page, leading many iRacers to openly blast the officiating duo for years upon years of ineptitude, favoritism, and a total lack of qualifications for the position – all of which are points we’ve brought up in the past, but have been attacked for talking about by rabid iRacers convinced we have some kind of irrational vendetta against the simulator. Individuals vocalizing their frustration with iRacing are not random sim racers, but in some cases prominent sim racing personalities who once sponsored iRacing, and whose decals can be applied to your car in the default livery editing program on the website itself – indicating a lot of people are becoming fed up with the Massachusetts developer once responsible for phenomenal simulators such as Grand Prix Legends and NASCAR Racing 2003 Season.

The laughs don’t stop there, as it turns out Schoenburg’s removal wasn’t the only developing story of the night; Taylor Hurst’s car was parked in a competitor’s pit stall for over thirty minutes before he was removed from the session, with iRacer Brian Day outright stating he believes the pair of stewards have only retained their position with iRacing thanks to being acquaintances with upper management outside of the simulator.

Lastly, it turns out iRacing have been aware of this spotter access glitch dating back to 2014, and it has popped up in both iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series events this season, but the team are yet to rectify it – instead distracting people by pushing out multiple pieces of content rather than fixing bugs that drastically tilt the playing field and compromise the integrity of an online championship sponsored by both NASCAR and a major automotive brand.

How long will this continue?

Peak Anti-Freeze recently became the title sponsor of NASCAR’s Mexico seriesyou know, real life stock cars – so it’s hard to believe the brand would be willing to tolerate funding this level of ineptitude in a virtual environment much longer with comments such as “we have one official who thinks right is left and another who can’t spell his own name” popping up across social media.

Now will iRacing fix the glitch itself, or at least find a new crop of stewards to call the action? “Probably not” is a reasonable answer to either of those questions – they’ve known about the problem since 2014, and we’re now three months into 2017, with an entire new discipline of race cars set to be released next week. What’s that? Bug fixes? Incompetent stewards? Sorry, can’t hear you, dirt ovals are coming.

 

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30 thoughts on “iRacers Call for New Stewards, Software Fixes After Las Vegas Confusion

    1. I’d like to say I feel vindicated by the fact that there are guys who have been on iRacing as long as I have been finally saying the things I said in 2010 and 2011 about the sim. You know… The guys who ripped me to shreds for saying something back then and probably played a huge part towards my many fourm bans.

      However I don’t feel vindicated when it’s 8 years later and absoltely no progress.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No joke iRacing needs to terminate Shannon Whitmore and Nim Cross. Those 2 have single handedly ruined iRacing for countless members. They in no way shape or form realize how to deal with people. They allow other drivers special privlages not allowed to others. Contact Dave.Kaemmer@iRacing.com and voice your opinion about any run ins anyone may had had with Shannon Whitmore, Nim Cross, or Tyler Hudson. These people are not revenue generators but revenue killers. Call iRacing Sponsors especially Peak Antifreeze, Nascar, Indy Racing League, etc. and explain. Cut the sponsorship dollars until Shannon Whitmore and Nim Cross are gone. Call your credit card company and dispute iRacing charges. If everyone is going to complain about iRacing ripping of their money then know better way to handle it than filing a dispute with your credit card company. If you really want Shannon Whitmore and Nim Cross gone this is how you do it. Hit them where it hurts until Nim Cross and Shannon Whitmore are gone forever.

      Like

  1. This is very well written article, but it doesn’t highlight Projectcars superior physics and online structure with proper ai stewards and cautions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Monopoly power in action.

    1. iRacing has no real competition within its niche.

    2. Therefore, they have no real reason to improve their core service.

    3. Leading inexorably to the last phase: Monetization via DLC as the best, most efficient way of increasing revenue.

    Every dollar they spend on improving the core product is simply a dollar they *could have* used to pump out more content. This is the most efficient use of their resources and will remain so unless and until a competitor arises. Only then does it make sense for them to devote resources to improving what people are *already* paying for.

    They depend on a subscription model where, to move to something else, you’d have to leave behind all the content you paid for (actually, leased).

    They know this and will milk these rubes for all they can, for as long as they can.

    Like

    1. That’s a rather simplistic analysis, especially from someone well acquainted with critical thinking.

      Although iRacing offers a unique arrive and drive online multiplayer service, it’s disingenuous to suggest that they aren’t competing with other sims for customers.

      Nor are they dis-incentivized from improving their service. Not only must they retain subscribers, it’s clearly in their best interest to grow that membership.

      Finally, although I don’t necessarily agree with all of their development choices, an ever-evolving tire model, and the addition of dynamic weather and surfaces certainly suggests they’re trying to improve the core service.

      Like

      1. I disagree. What other service offers such a large community of organized online racing, with actual prizes, highly detailed stat tracking, etc?

        They’re fairly unique if that’s what you want. R3E is trying to grow into something similar, but is still a long way off.

        You also didn’t address the fact that, in order to retain access to your (expensive) content, you have to maintain a subscription. It’s somewhat similar to how people will stick with a particular smartphone ecosystem because they’ve invested so much into apps that’s it painful to contemplate leaving it all behind.

        None of which is underhanded or even surprising. People see iRacing as a cheap hobby, and that’s fine. My point is that iRacing is relatively disincentivized from making improvements to the core service (aka “Lazy”) compared to, say, AC.

        AC needs to keep its core game in good shape because there *are* plenty of alternatives (R3E being the best imho) that offer similar features (or lack thereof).

        As far as that list of improvements goes, don’t you think those are things that a “premium” service should’ve implemented years ago?

        Put simply, iRacing plays in a different market space than the other racing sim franchises. And they have it pretty much all to themselves for now.

        Like

  3. project cars 2 is much more superior with no doubt, its amazing how butthurt you are against iracing… i’d like to see your change of attitude if they would have bought off your blog

    Like

    1. It’s hard to make that argument when what he’s reporting in the article is objectively *true*. This isn’t an opinion piece. It looks like plenty of dedicated iRacers are saying essentially the same thing.

      Are you saying they too have been bought off by SMS?

      I was certainly initially critical of the whole SMS deal, but this article doesn’t show bias IMHO. Find a better example.

      Like

      1. While it may be objectively true, I’d argue that six (or however many) people discussing the problems surrounding a recently completed event, isn’t really indicative of much at all.

        While Shannon and Nim certainly appear incompetent, the effects of that incompetence are largely limited to oval Pro participants.

        The default password spotter bug similarly affects a small niche within the overall membership.

        Personally, I wish iRacing would interact with its membership more transparently, and wherever possible, more responsively, but that’s nothing new.

        Like

        1. See my comments above. They don’t have to. What are you going to do?

          Go play R3E with its alpha-level multiplayer? Or enter the vast wasteland of “track day” servers (i.e. Home of the Wreckers) in AC? I’m not even going to mention the fact that the only online action for AMS and RF2 is via private leagues. You already know that.

          Anyway- No, you’re not going to do any of that. So why should iRacing be transparent or do anything more than the bare minimum?

          My point is proven by the fact that, despite these issues, you (presumably) keep on dutifully sending them your $ each month. The only reason you accept these compromises is because the service (presumably) gives you something you can’t get elsewhere.

          Like I said, that’s fine. But let’s not sit here and pretend that iRacing is some cutting-edge piece of software that has to continually improve to stay one step ahead.

          Like

  4. In other news,dirt is being released with official series yet no separate license,only a reduction of hard contacts from 4-2x.
    How many years will it take for this licence to be implemented,hmm heard that one before

    Like

    1. There was supposed to be some kind of separate licensing for the teams stuff, which of course has totally happened and is utterly wonderful.

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      1. How about thinking about what this says about his ability to enforce standards of behaviour on the forums, when he posts stuff like that.

        Like

  5. I’m sorry, i can’t get past the first 2 sentences without seeing this mental picture of Ian shoving his throbbing cock down Austin’s butthole and laughing devilish while doing so.

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          1. The female patients never complain.

            Until they start lactating.

            Dopamine and Prolactin (of all things) are held in an exquisite balance in the human brain. Decrease one, and the other increases.

            Like

  6. This must be incredible frustrating for these drivers. Imagine paying all the money for the content, all the practice you have to do to get there, just to get fucked over by these “simple” issues/ mistakes. Looks like iracers have no power vs the developer to force things happen even after all the money invested.
    In every other major esports these things would be called out instantly (if public), get a reddit frontpage post and 50-100k people reading it. Next day the organisation would be pressured to make a response solving the issues most likely … (CS GO the past week)
    I guess the casual talk provided in these facebook pictures is also not allowed on iracings forum?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t like iRacing at all, but at least it’s far more stable and robust than the pCars shitty bugshow today. This fuckers didn’t even fix the chat they broked with a patch years ago. Ian Bell should really be ashamed of this buggy mess he left us with and I still think the patches made the game even worse after most money counted. He will do the same with pCars 2 in order to sell 3.

    Like

    1. They’ve got a lot to prove with PC2, that’s for sure. I wish they would abandon street cars entirely, because every single one of them last time was horrible to drive.

      PC1’s street tire model made Forza 2 look like a multi-million dollar Red Bull F1 sim rig on hydraulic struts.

      Like

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