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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NASCAR Warms Up With Computer Game

So Hamlin warms up with Sierra NASCAR 2003, an auto-racing game so realistic that many fans prefer to call it a driving simulator, or sim.

It's Hamlin's first full year on NASCAR's Nextel Cup circuit, yet he's won two races in just over a month, both at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. Hamlin gives part of the credit to the hours he's spent "simracing" at a virtual Pocono. "I think it definitely has helped me," said Hamlin. "It's given me a lot of great experience, and it never hurts to go out there and get on the track a little bit earlier than the competition."

Hamlin's one of many drivers who use video games to warm up for race day. The reason is realism. Today's games go to remarkable lengths to reproduce the major auto racing tracks with exceptional accuracy. A driver who hasn't driven at Bristol, Talladega, or Darlington for months can get an instant refresher course by just booting up.
-- A computer game is a learning tool

Something of a credit to the level of realism the genre has achieved. Hamlin's apparently got a wicked cool steering control to boot, and I bet's he's totally geeked out with those foot pedal things.

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