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2002 – NASCAR Dirt to Daytona:

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The NASCAR Heat games were the second tier of NASCAR console games for the most part, but NASCAR Dirt to Daytona perfected something that NASCAR Racing 1999 Season tried to implement, but could not do properly. NASCAR Dirt to Daytona was the first NASCAR console game to include the NASCAR feeder system. As opposed to the EA Sports Career Mode, which just included controlling a Cup Series team, NASCAR Dirt to Daytona allowed the player to work their way up through the feeder system. First starting in dirt stock cars, then working their way up into the modifieds. From there, the player worked their way up to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series before finally making it all the way up to the Cup Series. The game does have some strange omissions, particularly not having all licensed NASCAR tracks. Regardless, this is a game that is still beloved by many. Primarily because it implemented a feature that had never been done on a console game before. For many, this was the first time that they were able to work their way up through the NASCAR feeder system, and it gave people a good reason to buy this game over the EA Sports NASCAR games. The release of this game kick started potentially the greatest run of NASCAR gaming ever seen. Following this game, Papyrus and EA Sports made arguably their best NASCAR video games.

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