This is an old story, but I haven't posted a tale yet and I started this damn community. I figured I need to post something. :P
So I decided to start a career on NASCAR Thunder a couple days ago. I hadn't ever done it before but felt that since Daytona is coming up here in a couple weeks, it was high time I did so.
It's worth noting that when you start a career, your car is complete shit. I would get driven by on straightaway like I was standing still, and that's not an exaggeration. I struggled to finish in the top 30 the first few races. Eventually, though, I started putting money towards a better crew and better equipment and started turning my rookie campaign into a success.
I had just completed my 26th start of the season and had snuck into the top 10 in points, a huge accomplishment. (One would think I'd be the forerunner for Rookie of the Year, but noooo.. Ryan Newman's ass is sitting #4 in points.) Currently I've got 3 wins, 6 top 5s and 14 top 10s, not a bad year at all.
But all this is lead up to.. (insert lame Hollywood music here) the greatest... race... ever!
The venue: New Hampshire 300
The Site: New Hampshire International Speedway
The Players: 2003 NASCAR Regulars
Race Length: 30 laps (I run 10% races because I'd get too bored otherwise. :P)
Qualifying: This has been my real Achilles heel all season. I normally hope for top 20 and feel very fortunate when I achieve it. However, New Hampshire is one of my best tracks, and I won the first race of the season here, so I was hopeful. I was even more hopeful when my first lap puts me in 12th position. My second lap wasn't much better, but was better enough that I was starting outside row 4, in 8th spot.
The Race: Entering turn 1 on lap 1 I just take things easy. Being on the outside on a flat track is the perfect way to end up in the wall. Coming off turn 2, however, I was in perfect position to make a move to the inside and pass Jeff Burton (sorry, pal.) and Dale Earnhardt Jr, placing me in 6th place. Turn 3 was a beauty, and I passed up the 5th, 4th, and 3rd place cars. I was side by side with the 2nd place car when I hit turn 1 and by the time I was entering turn 3, I had the lead.
Things were running beautifully. Dale Jr. (who had worked himself to 2nd) was being a bit of a pain in the ass, but not too terrible. Then on lap 12, tragedy struck: a wreck in turn 4 brings out the caution.
Now I don't normally mind cautions, but this brings up the biggest fault in this game (IMHO).. you have no idea whether you're in your pit window or not. So I do some very quick math in my head and decide to stay out.. big mistake. Apparently I (we) was (were) in my (our) pit window, and I blew it. While every other car on track was in position to finish the race on fuel, I was down to 5 gallons.
So on the ensuing lap I take matters into my own hands and give Dale Jarrett (sorry, buddy) a bit of a nudge and send him into the wall, bringing out another caution. I take my pit stop and come out of the pits with 10 laps remaining.. in 42nd place.
By the time the 1st post pit stop lap was finished, I had maneuvered myself up to 30th place. After lap 2, 22nd place. After lap 3, 13th.
29 positions after 3 laps. I was Superman.. Superman, I tell you!
Passing wasn't so furious from then on out because cars were running better and were more spaced out, but one by one I started picking them off.
With 3 laps remaining, I'm in 3rd place. Dale Jr. is still pacing the race, Jeff Gordon is sitting 2nd, and I'm 3 seconds behind the leader.
Going into turn 1 I slide below Gordon but apply too much brake, allowing him to carry more speed out of turn 2 and speed away from me on the backstretch. Turn 3, however, I break perfectly and carry a momentous amount of speed out of turn 4 into 2nd place. Crossing the start/finish line tells me I'm now 2 seconds behind Dale Jr.
I had gained a full second in 1 lap!
2 laps remaining.
I run a nearly perfect lap on lap 29, but don't make up quite as much ground. 1.2 seconds behind.
Obviously I need to run an outstanding lap to catch Dale Jr. As I go into turn 1, my braking gets out of control again and I curse myself. I come off turn 2 with a good amount of speed, however, and Dale Jr. gets closer and closer. No where near close enough to catch, however..
Until I hit turn 3.
Dale's half way through 3 when I hit it, and I hit it perfect. I coast around the corner while slowly applying gas. As I come off turn 4 I'm able to just nudge Dale Jr's left rear and put him into a little shimmy..
Enough to shimmy my way to a win.