By: Ashley McCubbin
Whenever a new venue is added to the schedule, the first question is always this – who will gain the advantage first?
All the drivers and teams were looking to be the done to do that in the series’ first trip to Circuit of the Americas, and had different approaches in how to do so.
““I think, honestly, there’s been so much other prep this week for this race; and honestly, back to January if you want to go back that far in preparation,” William Byron told NEWS FROM THE PITS.
One of the most generalized thought processes would be to utilize iRacing, which has grown quite the reputation for offering driver’s a venue to hone their craft following the success of the Pro Invitational Series last year. Byron, who has become known for his skills on the program, notes it’s a good weekly tour to refresh yourself with circuits that you know.
So ready to make his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at COTA, Jack Wood was on iRacing a ton, as well as getting go-kart experience at GoPro Motoplex to get used to shifting, and time in the Chevrolet simulator.
He notes the experience on iRacing can be beneficial visually in getting down the general layout of the circuit, but it’s not the perfect solution.
“It’s going to be hard to tell if their tire model, grip level they have on iRacing is close to what we have on the track,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “But I think the biggest thing for me is to get on there and get time on the track learning it and the different angles that you have to take.”
That’s why Ty Dillon says there’s nothing that compares to the real visuals and speeds once you are on the track. As a result, a weekend of unknowns sees drivers feel like they are drinking from a fire hose.
Ultimately, given the weekend that we got on-track, it worked out well for others with road course aces like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott finding the secret line to success and victory, while others probably still felt lost even when the day was over.
But either way, it’s in the past as a return to familiar territory with Charlotte Motor Speedway should be welcoming to everyone.