eRacr.gg’s Firecracker 400 returns this July

On Monday (April 24) it was announced that the virtual edition of The Firecracker 400 would return this summer after taking calendar year 2022 off.

Hosted by eRacr.gg and hosted on the iRacing platform, The Firecracker 400 event pays homage to the earlier days of NASCAR stock car racing. The event uses iRacing’s 1987 NASCAR stock cars (Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Ford Thunderbird and Buick LeSabre) and the older, bumpier version of the Daytona International Speedway.

The official date of the race is expected to be towards the end of July, with heats and qualifiers and a Firecracker 200 consolation race scheduled in the weeks before.

The official dates of the event will be announced later this week during Blake McCandless’ World 600 community event. Registrations for the event will also begin closer to the race date, according to eRacr.gg’s Joshua Mendoza. We will update this article once this information becomes available.

THE HISTORY OF THE FIRECRACKER 400

In 2020, when racers couldn’t race on the real tracks, the motorsport world turned to sim racing. iRacing in particular was able to seize the opportunity as many official and unofficial events sprung up during the shutdown.

Following the success of such events as the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series and the IndyCar Challenge on the iRacing platform, NASCAR drivers Landon Cassill and Parker Kligerman have teamed up to create eRacr.gg to put together a recreation of what was once The Firecracker 400 was .

The Daytona summer race, before Pepsi and now Coca-Cola got the sponsorship rights, used to be called the Firecracker. It also used to run on the Fourth of July every year, and it was morning through afternoon as it was before lights were installed around the 2.5-mile Superspeedway facility.

Funnily enough, this tradition lasted until 1987, which is the same year of the virtual cars used by eRacr.gg. While iRacing doesn’t have a scan or retro version of the Daytona track from the 1980s, it does have one from 2007, one of the last years before the track was paved, giving this used version some character.

A HIGHEST CALCULATED iRACING COMMUNITY EVENT

Brandon Kettelle was the event’s first winner in 2020. In 2021, it was Michael Cosey Jr. While the winners and the races are important, it’s also important to recognize the details that went into these events over these two seasons .

There was a connection with the NASCAR Hall of Fame to bring some of that real world NASCAR knowledge to the show. The stand was run by Cassill and Kligerman alongside David Schildhouse, all three dressed in festive attire to kick off the action.

There were multiple broadcasters and cameramen, led by Chris Hanel, and multiple stewards, led by eRacr.gg’s Mendoza. The event featured all audience interaction via Twitch for both years and drew a lot of attention from the oval side of the iRacing community.

Unique iRacing update by Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 1987 NASCAR stock cars

One of the most beautiful parts of it all was the real talent trying to reach – and in some cases qualify – the field of 43 starters. NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte, NASCAR Cup Series drivers William Byron, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series talent like Anthony Alfredo, Ryan Vargas, Garrett Smithley, Rajah Caruth and even IndyCar talents like Ed Tischler have all tried their hand.

That doesn’t even include the myriad of highly talented eNASCAR drivers like Ray Alfalla, Michael Conti, Nick Ottinger, Casey Kirwan, Zack Novak and more who have thrown their names in the ring.

In total, more than 340 entries took part in the preliminary rounds at the first two events, of which 88 riders made it into the qualification, where only the top 42 contest the main race.

AN EXTRA YEAR FOR PREPARATION

The race could not take place in 2022 due to time constraints. Landon Cassill had returned to full-time racing competition earlier in 2022 with Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and Parker Kligerman has continued to pursue opportunities, all of which have led to his full-time 2023 Xfinity slate at Big Machine Racing.

Although the race did not take place, community events led by Blake McCandless filled some of that gap with races like the World 600 and the Rockingham 508. One event McCandless and the rest of the community left was The Firecracker, in the Hope it would eventually return under the eRacr.gg banner. Sure enough, it has.

The full schedule and format for 2023 has not yet been announced, but it is expected to be similar to previous iterations. Further details such as entry fee, prize pool and official partners have also yet to be announced.

For more details about eRacr.gg’s The Firecracker 400, visit the eRacr.gg website and Discord, and also follow the official eRacr.gg account on Twitter.

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