In this review I will get into some racing strategies that I have tried to survive each race to build up my rankings on the individual tracks (it's tough sometimes). Also I will cover the different starts of the races and how others try to take advantage of these. I will also cover a couple of things to do to your car during practice mode to get ready for racing.
There are a couple of minor things to do to your car while in the practice mode so your car will go the whole race. Depending on the Track temperature and length of the race, check your top (fourth) gear settings while the car is doing its practice laps. Make sure that it is not red lining going into each turn. If it is, the car may blow its engine on some tracks after 20-30 laps of the race. I have blown two engines at Charlette and Taladega because of this problem. Don't forget that drafting will cause you to red line the car. Sometimes it doesn't have to red line to blow, just come close to overreving. If the race is very short or on shorter tracks like Bristol, the car may get away with engine problems. Same goes for qualifying, don't have the car geared too high.
The second thing to check is to see if the tire temperatures are not overheating. You are either going to have to increase the tire pressures, change the weight/balance, or don't drive so aggressive. You may not have enough time in the 4 minutes to notice this problem or fix it.
The first thing I noticed when I started to race on NRO is the cars seem to go a little faster than when I race off-line at home. Maybe that is the rendition kicking in on my system. There is no rendition patches yet for the NRO.
My initial strategies are based on how well I am doing during practice against my competitors, how the race is setup(what kind of start), and what track I am racing at. I find in the NRO, you don't necessarily have to start at the front to win, unless it is a very short race. During practice I hit the F2 key to watch all the lap times of my competitors as they turn their laps and compare them to my times. Normally the host sets 4-5 minutes practice time to see how our lap speeds are doing and to get used to the track.
I have basically three strategies that I use when racing on the NRO after running my practice session and they are as follows.
Strategy one (that everyone tries to do is): If it looks like I can get the pole with my car and I feel comfortable with the track, I try to go all out to make the pole position or somewhere close to the front. I try to make it into the top four qualifiers.
Strategy two: If my car is not up to par with some of the other drivers or my car is a little squirrelly at the starts, I just lay back a little on my qualify speeds and then follow behind these power drivers through the start of the race and try to finish as high as I can without getting damaged or damaging them. I try to see if I can make the top 6 qualifiers in this strategy.
Strategy three: If this is a short track and over ten drivers, I sometimes try to qualify towards the rear of the field as much as I can. This way I can see what the other drivers do in the first few turns. There usually is an accident in the first lap or two.
All three of these strategies can backfire. If I make the pole position and my car is not fast on the starting lap, the other drivers can run right over the top of me or cause an accident in the starting turns. The second strategy can backfire because I am in the middle of the pack and if the drivers behind me don't slow down for accidents, they will smash into the rear end of my car. I have had this happen many times where I slow down for an accident to go by and someone from behind going at full speed plows into me.
It gets frustrating sometimes. You wonder what they are thinking about. The third strategy backfires sometimes because some drivers don't qualify at all to get to the tail end of the pack(I'll explain this one later) or you are in where the drivers are less experienced than myself and get into trouble trying to pass them. I've had a couple drivers come down on me when I had them beat going into the corners. So not all strategies work all the time and it is based on a little luck, where you are on the track when accidents happen, and along with my driving skills over the years of racing SIMS.
I have made my share of dumb mistakes also being this is the first time racing with other live racers. As we get more experienced in racing with each other and learning to race the different tracks, the mishaps will diminish drastically. I raced one race at Martinsville with 14 other drivers and the race was 100 laps. There was only one yellow that came out during that entire race. So it can be done.
I have now made it though my practice session and have qualified and I am ready to race against my competitors. There are basically three ways the race can start in Nascar 2. They are the one pace lap start or the Grand Prix standing start and of course the yellow flag starts. There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of start.
Pace lap starts: I enjoy these more than the standing starts. For one thing it is a more realistic representation of how the race should be done. There are a whole set of strategies that can go on while you are in this pace lap. One strategy I see going on in pace lap starts from other drivers is the art of sling-shotting when the green flag drops. This can cause all kinds of problems and accidents in the first turn or down the main straight-aways. I see drivers go by me at full speed, while the rest of us are getting up to speed. Remember my third strategy saying about drivers that don't qualify. This is the reason so they can lay back and try to slingshot the entire field on the start. To avoid this they do Grand Prix starts.
Grand Prix starts: Grand Prix starts are OK, but they can have there problems also. When I step on the throttle at green flag, I hope my car goes straight, the driver in front moves in time, and the driver behind me does not smash into me. The cars can get squirrelly at times on these starts because of the spinning of the rear wheels. This will possibly make the cars drive either left or right and possibly into your competitors. This also causes cars from behind to smash into the cars in front of them. It gets pretty messy sometimes. Gearing plays a big part in this type of start to beat your opponents into the first couple of turns. Example, I find this a lot at Taladega where I get the pole and when the green flag drops, three or four drivers go by me because of my low gear settings and have to play catch up after that.
Yellow flag starts: These are very similar to pace lap start except we are in single file.
Racing: If I can make it through the first lap or so without any accidents, the cars will usually spread out enough to go into the normal racing strategies and common sense to gain car positions.
I am not going to go into every racing strategy that can occur, but I will say use common sense when racing against live drivers. We all have done many hours of off-line racing and apply that knowledge to the NRO scene also. Remember, they are not computer cars anymore. Drivers are paying for their premium time just like I am and trying to do the best we can in racing each track.
If the driver is faster than you, try and see if you can stay ahead of the driver for a lap or two, and if not, use common sense to let them go by. You can always get that driver some other race. Do not try to swerve all over the track to keep the driver behind you. Run your normal racing lines so the driver can see how you run the track. If the driver is faster than you, he will get by you. You can try to block the driver a little, but don't be all over the track.
Do not dive bomb the driver as they are passing you to try to hold your position. This is a good way to not gain respect when you race with that driver again. See if you can stay with the driver after the pass and maybe get your position back.
Do not purposely take out another car in front of you to gain position. Make sure you clearly have beat to the corner, otherwise back off and get him the next lap. I have seen too many drivers on the NRO that just put pedal to the metal and what ever gets in their way, that's too bad.
If someone does take you out by accident, don't tear off his head with vulgar language. That is part of racing, and accidents do happen. Just learn from your accidents and try not do the same thing over and over. Remember, there are new drivers coming on the NRO scene all the time that do not have your knowledge.
For God sake, don't try to run the track backwards. I have seen a couple drivers do this since I have been online. Might have been someone from the DOOM group trying their hands in racing. You will be put on a list of bad drivers if you do.
With long races there is one thing that I have a hard time with when racing live. It will probably take me a while to figure this one out. If I have a slower car, it is hard for me to determine what cars are behind me after racing many laps. Are they the leaders coming up on me, or are they on my same lap that I am. The mirror does not do much for me in that respect. The F1 key tells how close drivers are to me time wise, but it is still hard to tell who is behind me sometimes, especially on the short tracks. The L key tells me where the leader is at, but nobody else. I don't think the spotter tells me who each driver is that is behind me. If anybody has any ideas on this let me know. We are not always the lead car.
Well, that is about it for now. See you at the track,
Dave Thayer(Daterror - Ten handle)
This page last updated Saturday, February 7, 1998