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Watching DJ Yee-J: Did iRacing Fix NASCAR?

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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DJ Yee-J discusses the new iRacing oval refresh in his latest video. Come watch with us!

With iRacing’s new oval racing refresh being a popular topic among online gamers, it brings forth the question of whether it fixed some of the shortcomings of NASCAR oval racing on the platform or did it even make a difference. Well, iRacing guru and YouTuber, DJ Yee-J took to the platform to test out the refresh. Let’s watch this video for his thoughts on it:

DJ starts the video stating that the “down and dirty answer” as to whether or not the new refresh “fixed” oval racing on iRacing is: “It’s pretty good and does what it has been advertised to do”. That, of course, is not the whole story and it helped in some areas better than others. So, let’s get into some of the specifics.

DJ tested out primarily the Xfinity Series car on iRacing on a total of 4 different tracks: Texas, Darlington, Iowa, and Chicagoland. He also tested the ARCA car on a handful of intermediates and the way the two cars drove and handled the refresh are quite different.

Texas Motor Speedway

The first races DJ ran to test out the new iRacing oval refresh were at Texas Motor Speedway. He does note here that this was an interesting experience as it perfectly showcased how the refresh worked in some ways but was still bothersome in others, specifically when it came to the wildly different corners.

The first change he noticed was in turns 3 and 4 after running about 20 laps. He notes here how the track seemed to change and while he started the race being able to run pretty much any line, the bottom grew slicker, which did not translate to higher speeds. He notes that moving up a lane or two would almost always eliminate those questionable track conditions.

This takes us to turns 1 and 2 at Texas. The bottom line here was the undisputed better lane to run, which works because that’s how it’s supposed to be at Texas. However, the problem occurs when that lane, much like the bottom in turns 3 and 4, gets rubbered up and very slick. It makes the car so much harder to drive but there isn’t really an alternative to move to as the other lanes are still so much worse.

Darlington Speedway

That takes us to Darlington. DJ explains in his video that he saw many of the same issues in Darlington’s first a second turns. There was pretty much one dominant line in that race which was, of course, up against the wall. But, as the race wore on, the handling on the car went away, the track got slicker, and it became much harder to force the car to cut down the track. Meaning that everybody was running the same miserable lane all race.

To make matters worse, this made passing a virtual impossibility. Basically, DJ explains, you kind of just had to hope that the driver in front of you messed up in order to have a prayer in overtaking them.

It’s with turns 3 and 4 at Darlington where DJ saw the biggest change in the refresh. Originally, his suggestion to iRacers was to enter the corner as early as possible and try to hug the bottom groove all the way through the third and fourth corners. With this refresh, that didn’t really work. The car was unable to stay on the bottom due to worsening and slicker track conditions.

So, to combat this, DJ suggests that drivers now try to straighten up on corner exits as much as possible. Since there isn’t a whole lot of rear grip in the Xfinity Series car, being as straight as possible when the track starts to free up is the best way to click off some blisteringly fast lap times.

Iowa Speedway

The third track DJ tried the refresh out on is the retuning (to NASCAR in 2024) at Iowa Speedway. Heading into the race at Iowa, DJ expected it to be the track with the most racing grooves out there. However, that was not what he found to be the case. If anything, it was more single groove than either Texas or Darlington.

The racing groove at Iowa was primarily on the bottom and the best technique to get there was to enter high and swoop down to that bottom groove. DJ found that the middle and top lines were almost undrivable as the race wore on, which was surprising to him.

He notes that while the line isn’t one that is unheard of (it existed before) it was rather strange that it was the only line he could competitively run.

Chicagoland Speedway

The final track DJ tried out in the Xfinity Series car was Chicagoland. And, the most interesting thing he found with this refresh was that running the top at Chicago wasn’t the way to go anymore. The biggest problem with running the high line at Chicago, DJ found, was that the Xfinity car setup was so loose that the right rear would step out and, by the end of a run, the right rear tire would wear 30% more than the rest of the tires.

DJ’s tip here is what he calls the diamond line, which proved effective at both Darlington and, shockingly, Iowa. The key is to enter the corner high, use the trail brake to move low and shoot to the bottom of the track, which is the preferred line. Then, when coming off the corner, it is important to iron out the exit and come out as straight as possible.

ARCA

The biggest difference DJ found between the ARCA car and the Xfinity car with the oval refresh was that while the Xfinity car was extremely loose, the ARCA car was extremely tight. Prior to the oval refresh, DJ pointed out that the optimal strategy for ARCA races was to run the bottom for the first half of the race and then shift to the top for the second half.

The biggest difference with the refresh was that if you committed to running the top in the second half of the race, you’d end up burning up too much tire and end up losing time to your competitors. The top was fine but only in short sprints.

Because of how slick the bottom lane is with this refresh, it’s better now to enter the corner high and then go to the bottom to avoid some of the trouble areas of the groove.

DJ’s Key Takeaways

DJ’s key takeaways from this oval refresh are:

  • Corner entry is where you’re really going to have to move around to find the most grip
  • The bottom line is still king
  • Late apex entry is the best way to get to the bottom
  • Early apex entry can be good but only in the short run
  • Rolling the middle of the corner is a hindrance

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve enjoyed watching this video from DJ Yee-J with us! Let us know what you think of the new iRacing oval refresh. Do you like it? Are the improvements good or minimal? Is it more or less the same? Let us know what you think! And keep it right here for more fan discussions and silly season news in the world of NASCAR!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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