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Jake’s Top 5 NASCAR Video Games to Play

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Jake Smith

News Writer for The Daily Downforce.
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These are a handful of NASCAR video games that will give you the greatest experience of being in the driver’s seat and racing with your favorite stock car heroes. From the beginning to the newest edition, here are five NASCAR video games you should check out in 2023.

#5: NASCAR Rivals

First on the list we have NASCAR’s newly released game for the Nintendo Switch exclusively. This provides a unique hand-held experience that you can take anywhere with you. It features the new 2022 Next Gen car, driver roster, teams, and the new tracks added from the NASCAR ’22 season.

It offers a Driver career mode to create your own history, a quick race mode to race as your favorite driver, custom paint booth, and online multiplayer. It has a casual, arcade-like feel to the gameplay, but is a great way to get some racing in a mobile environment.

#4: NASCAR Thunder 2004

Though this game is coming up on its 20th anniversary it still holds very strong in the gaming community as one of the most realistic simulators for NASCAR. It has a very in-depth career mode where you need to effectively manage the team, acquire sponsors and adapt the equipment to the conditions on the track.

It also has a well-designed AI system for players to have a bit of a challenge in the races. This was released for the PlayStation 2 and Original Xbox, but you can acquire a PC version.

#3: NASCAR Heat 5

This is the fifth installment of the reboot for the NASCAR Heat series that simulates the NASCAR 2020 Season. This game includes the top 3 series in NASCAR as well as a late model series on dirt. It allows custom set-ups, a bit of car customization, and a career mode.

It has received some criticism for only making minor changes since its predecessor Heat 4. That being said it has received more positive views than NASCAR 21: Ignition. It has a decent balance of simulation and an arcade type of racing game.

#2: NR2003

If you’re into PC gaming and have the setup for it, NR2003 is a great simulator that has been carried by the modding community to keep it alive today. It provides the most in depth custom car setup options to ever exist in a NASCAR game.

The game has been given updates throughout each year and the possibilities of what you can race are almost endless. It’s the closest to a simulation to driving a stock car before these creators moved on to a project that is much more familiar to everyone, which holds number one.

Here is the original trailer for NASCAR Racing 2003 Season:

#1 iRacing

iRacing is the leading sim racing game for your PC as they organize, host, and officiate online racing on virtual tracks across the world. They utilize the latest technology to recreate multiple racing series and tracks to have the closest simulation experience for the player.

This is such a close comparison to the real thing that some race teams use it as a training tool for their drivers. It is a monthly subscription-based game which hinders a lot of casual players but is well worth it for someone looking for a simulation experience only.

There are many other NASCAR video games that are out there that also hold a good reputation, but to narrow it down to ones you need to get your hands on these are my top five for 2023.

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Picture of Jake Smith

Jake Smith

News Writer for The Daily Downforce.
All Posts