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  • David Phillips
    Editor And Chief
    David Phillips is a long-time contributor to print and electronic publications in the U.S. and abroad, including Racer, Autosport, AutoWeek, Motor Sport and, oversees the daily updating of news stories and assigns, edits and contributes feature material for
  • Wil Vincent
    Contributing writer

    Wil is a 25 year old student, town planner, and sim racing commentator, most well known for his work as the lead commentator for GlacierTV. Wil got into commentating through his college student radio, where he also worked as a journalist and interviewer, covering gigs and festivals within the UK, and joined GlacierTV in February 2012, becoming lead commentator a month later. His work culminated in him commentating on the 2013 World Championship Grand Prix Series, iRacing Indy 500, and iRacing All Star Race. When he gets in the virtual cockpit, you'll normally see will taking on the thrill of IndyCar Oval racing, or trying his hand in GT action

    Outside of iRacing, Wil's an avid IndyCar fan, having watched the sport since the late 1990s, and always looks forward to the Month of May. He also enjoys watching NASCAR, Formula 1, and V8 Supercars.

  • Jeff Jacobs

    Jeff Jacobs started autocrossing with the SCCA in 1990 while a student at the University of Florida. He has competed in the SCCA's National Tour and ProSolo series since 1995, winning a ProSolo National Championship in H-Stock in 2011 driving a 2010 MINI Cooper. Jeff completed his SCCA Club Racing drivers' school in 2012 at Roebling Road in a Spec Miata. He currently writes a column for the SCCA's Northeast Division in SportsCar Magazine and is the Region Executive of the Philadelphia Region SCCA.

    Jeff joined iRacing in October 2012. After starting with the MX-5 and SRF cars, he has been concentrating on the Ford Mustang FR500S, competing in the Mustang Cup series and the Continental Endurance Sports Car Series.

  • Cam Stark
    contributing writer

    I began taking sim racing seriously about a year ago, but have loved motorsports from a young age. I began following Formula One first, then realized there are a huge variety of motorsports to watch. iRacing has opened my eyes even more to the diversity and volume of “real world” motorsports, let alone on the sim itself. With the huge varieties of series to choose from, you're spoiled for choice!

    Ever since I began iRacing, I wanted to improve on my ability, be it road or oval. Having not really heard about oval racing prior to November last year (blame the UK press), my mentality towards it has totally changed from what it would have initially been - it's awesome! I recently began road racing again - in the Star Mazda - and have been having a blast ever since. On top of racing the series I have the privilege of writing the articles for iRacing News.

    In all honesty I have surprised myself on iRacing. From being a fairly casual gamer/racer, it's been a world of difference, but it has far exceeded my expectations. I had a very brief stint driving in rFactor leagues, but I found my place of sim racing on this service, and I can't see myself stopping anytime soon.

  • Justin Sutton
    series contributor

    Justin is 29 and lives in Texas with his girlfriend and three dogs. Although always a fan of road racing growing up, Sutton never got the chance to participate in Sim-Racing until 2012 and didn't join iRacing until 2013. The son of a writer, and former resident of Connecticut and Philadelphia, his interests vary. Currently Sutton is a co-owner of YouTube channel focused on racing games and simulators and more specifically Formula One along with his partner Mikko from Finland (BoxBoxBoxGaming). Currently Sutton writes the Skip Barber F2000 and Lotus 49 articles (and the occasional F1 article) for iRacing News, and doesn't get nearly enough time to race the cars he writes about.

    Gaming is a big part of Sutton's life as well as he is both viewer and broadcaster on Twitch along with his girlfriend of seven years. In addition to being an aspiring writer he is a skilled speaker with a focus on commentary of races and hopes one day to do commentary for road racing of some kind.

  • Matt Holden

    Matt Holden began his involvement in motorsports at an early age, moving to Charlotte, NC when he was 6 months old. Growing up next door to a NASCAR TV personality, racing has always been a major part of his life. Currently studying Mechanical Engineering at UNC Charlotte, Matt works for US Legend Cars International as a technical inspector and race official at local tracks such as Charlotte Motor Speedway and Concord Speedway. Within iRacing, Matt is the Crew Chief for Gale Force Racing's #05 car in the NASCAR Peak Antifreeze Series, as well as Chassis Engineer for the team's R&D program.

  • Paul Slavonik
    iRacingNews Series Writer

    For all intents and purposes, Paul Slavonik was a late-bloomer to racing. Growing up watching NASCAR drivers such as Davey Allison and Earnhardt Sr. was the furthest extent of Paul’s racing aspirations at the time. Fast forwarding 20 years, Paul began watching the UK show Top Gear and thus ensued a fascination with all things fast. Soon after, Paul stumbled upon and has been hooked on racing ever since.
    A United States Army Veteran, Certified Audio Engineer and aspiring author, Paul spends his time hanging out with his wife and working on his first book. Currently residing in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), TX, his favorite racing series is the Australian V8 Supercars (go FPR!) and he has recently joined a local ChumpCar racing team. Paul began writing news stories for iRacingNews in January of 2014 and currently covers the GT3 Challenge Series and the V8 Supercars Series.

  • Thiago Izequiel

    Born in 1985 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Thiago Izequiel is a graphic and web designer, go kart racer, aiming to get a career in motorsports. He started racing in 2007 and joined iRacing in 2010. Thiago lives in Maricá, a little town located in Rio de Janeiro state, around 60km far away from Rio de Janeiro city. In 2014 he started to write for iRacing News and also started to design layouts for racing cars.

    Working as a freelancer today, he started working as a designer in 2006. After a few years working in web design agencies, Thiago decided to follow his dreams and quit his job to work with a racing driver named Suzane Carvalho in 2011, on her driver's school. Things didn't worked out as expected and Thiago, after getting jobs as a front-end developer and social media content developer, went back to the dream path as a freelancer so he could have more time to focus on his driving career.

  • David Moulthrop
    NASCAR Contributor

    David Moulthrop is an award winning motorsports photo journalist and has covered auto racing since the mid-seventies. While he is most well known for his NASCARimages he has also covered F1, American Road Racing, and IndyCar on a regular basis. He has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and online news sites including, National Speed Sport News, Area Auto Racing News, Auto Racing USA, Stock Car Magazine, Sprint Cup Dateline, and Jayski. David joined the iRacing team in 2004 as a contract photographer and became iRacing's Laser Scan Project Manager in 2005.

  • Jack Davidson
    Staff Videographer

    Jack is a recent grad from Boston University with a passion for filmmaking as well as racing. He grew up playing games such as the Need For Speed series, Gran Turismo, and more recently, the GRID and DIRT franchises.

  • Jason Lofing Series Writer
    Jason is 21 years old and was born and raised in Elk Grove. California. A big time NASCAR fan, he hasn’t missed a race on Sunday in years. Lofing is also a huge San Fransisco Giants fan and tries to take in at least a couple games a year. Other than sim racing, his biggest (and far more expensive!) hobby is photography. Although he is rather new to sim racing, Lofing has already accomplished some pretty impressive results, qualifying for the 2011 iRacing Oval Pro Series in Season 1, 2011, winning the inaugural Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge and finishing runner-up in the second one.
  • Katier Scott
    Contributing Writer
    I am a veteran sim racer who first started racing way back in 1993 on the SPRTSIMS section of Compuserve with a league who can trace themselves all the way to the present. Within that league I act as Chief Steward and try to bring the unique viewpoint that this experience gives me into my articles.
    I have a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Editorial design and have been writing for seven years and currently cover the Lotus 79 CTC and Radical series alongside my freelance work. Living in the UK, as well as motorsports I love Photography, Arts and Crafts and reading.
  • David Ifeguni
    Contributing Writer
    I was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1988 and moved to Midland, Michigan when I was two years old. I stayed there until third grade when I moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan and now I currently live in Naperville, IL where I'm attending Metea Valley High School as a 9th grader. In the past, I have participated in soccer and this year I plan on joining swimming or water polo. My family includes my 15 year old sister, a 7 year old sister and my mom and dad. I have been writing since 6th grade and have participated in many writing contests in my school and have received several awards for writing.
    My fascination for motorsports began when I was nine. The first NASCAR race I watched on TV was the 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, won by Kasey Kahne. My favorite NASCAR drivers are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jimmie Johnson. I have watched all the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series since 2010. I currently have three wins on iRacing, two of them in the Nationwide car at Daytona and one in the Street stocks at Charlotte. My favorite car and type of track on iRacing is the Nationwide Series (B Class) car and superspeedways.

The Customer is (Nearly) Always Right

by David Phillips on August 27th, 2009

There is no more thankless task in motorsports than that of chief steward.  Charged with interpreting and enforcing a myriad of rules and regulations and occasionally refereeing disputes among supremely competitive individuals, sometimes the most a chief steward can hope for is to earn an equal degree of enmity from all sides.

It’s tough enough when you’re Brian Barnhart, president, competition and racing operations of the Indy Racing League and your IndyCar series runs 17 races a season; tougher still when you’re George Silbermann, NASCAR’s managing director of racing operations and you run 38 Sprint Cup races a year.  And spare a thought for Don Grabey, race director for the World of Outlaws, who oversees the WoO’s winged sprint cars during an 85-event schedule stretching  from February through November.

In many ways, however, the challenges faced by Barnhart, Silbermann and Grabey pale compared to those confronted by Nim Cross, chief  steward of FIRST, sanctioning body for the plethora of online race series run by   With more than 200 races daily among 16 classes in an arena that stages four 12-week seasons annually, plus four more “Week 13s” not to mention the new iRacing Pro Series Oval and Road Racing competition, the 43-year-old resident of York, PA has a daunting task.

“…in the real world, a driver cussing and swearing at another competitor knows they may get a punch in the mouth as a result.  In an online situation that’s not going to happen, so we need to develop methods of making people responsible for their behavior.”

Cross says iRacing’s graduated licensing system, which emphasizes on safety ratings, is his biggest ally.

“The fairest policing mechanism is the iRacing system itself,” he says.  “First, there’s the Code of Conduct and with the safety rating system you can’t have a lot of accidents if you hope to move up to an advanced license.
“I only get involved in the most egregious incidents,” Cross continues.  “Considering all the racing that takes place on our site, that doesn’t happen very often.  But when a protest is filed, we have the video replays and the chat logs as evidence.    I try to look at the incident from all sides, keep in mind that emotions run high, and treat everyone fairly and with respect.  After all, the people involved are not only our customers, they’re competitors in our series.”

Additional allies include Shannon Whitmore, director of customer experience/customer service, Susan Flint, customer support manager and Angela Sinopoli, customer support specialist, with whom Cross consults on particularly tricky cases.
Cross brings a unique background to the task.   In his younger days, Cross was a regular at local race tracks like Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedway (his two “favorite places on Earth”) and worked on Daryl Gohn’s sprint car until the popular driver’s fatal accident in 1988.  Cross was later introduced to the world of right turns when he attended an IMSA race at Watkins Glen and now is as likely to be found at Summit Point or Mid-Ohio as Lincoln or “the Grove.”

He is also an inveterate game player; indeed he spent much of his time in the ‘80s developing his own racing board games.  With the advent of computer racing games, it was only a matter of time before Cross took to online racing, first as a beta-tester for Papyrus (among others) and, later, with his Virtual Racing World (  Using NASCAR 2003, VRW featured an online racing league with a highly realistic atmosphere in which team owners had two cars, a virtual bank and bid for their drivers in a blind auction.  Drivers could not compete in the series until they were hired by a team owner and each time a driver crashed, the team owner had to pay for the repairs from his virtual bank account.

“I tried to make the environment as realistic as possible,” says Cross.  “For example, in qualifying, rather than having all the cars on the track at once, VRW mirrored NASCAR’s single car qualifying.  If you drew a high number, you had to wait your turn and experience the same butterflies as the real NASCAR drivers, go out on cold tires just like the real drivers and so on.  I heard of some drivers in VRW being so nervous waiting in the qualifying line they throw up.”

Given that level of authenticity, it was only a matter of time before Cross attracted the attention of co-founder John Henry.  Their discussions about policing a community of online racers resulted in Cross joining iRacing first as the director of the beta-team and, later, as the chief steward.

Together, Cross and his colleagues instituted a keystone of the service, namely a code of conduct that begins with the in-race chat among competitors and extends to the forums.
“We need to set standards for behavior,” he says.  “People say ‘In the real world, drivers cuss and swear at each other.  Why not on iRacing?’

“The answer is in the real world, a driver cussing and swearing at another competitor knows they may get a punch in the mouth as a result.  In an online situation that’s not going to happen, so we need to develop methods of making people responsible for their behavior.”

Which doesn’t mean Cross is drunk with power.  One of his abiding concerns is always taking into account the various skill levels of the participants.

“Initially, most of our members were veteran sim-racers,” he says.  “As our membership has grown we’ve attracted more and more people experiencing sim-racing for the first time.

“I pay special attention to the rookies.  It may be that when they’re accused of intentionally wrecking someone that that wasn’t the case; they were doing their best, it’s just that their best isn’t very good.  That’s OK.  That’s what the rookie series are for.”

The other end of the spectrum is the inaugural iPS Oval and Road Racing championships.  Open only to  Pro iRacing Licensees (awarded to the 250 top-rated oval and road racers based on speed and  safety), the iPSO and iPSRR could be Cross’ biggest challenge.

“Racing is an ego-driven sport,” he says.  “Any time you put thirty of the best drivers on the same track, somebody is going to wind up thirtieth who’s not used to being thirtieth.  So there will be a period of adjustment.  Some people will overcompensate and accidents may be the result.

“Accidents are part of racing and, as long as it’s not malicious, I don’t have a problem.  The best drivers are the most competitive by nature, but the very best drivers control their emotions.”

If they don’t, they’ll be hearing from Nim Cross.

15 Comments or Trackbacks

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  1. Name Email

  1. Tim Wheatley
    September 2nd, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Awesome stuff. Great to hear from The Steward!

  2. Jim Kepford
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Nothing like a trip to the trailer to straighen them out. You do a great job Nim.

  3. Dana Garrison
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Nim, for some reason I pictured you looking like a monster. Nice read David

  4. Greg Cloutier
    September 2nd, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Go Nim! Good to put a face to the name and we all know how busy you are out there!

    More and more members signing up i’m surprised you havn’t had more of a handful dealing with all of it!

  5. Tony LaGrene
    September 3rd, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Nim is the perfect guy for this position…. he is very fair and looks at things very objectively…. great job Nim and thanks for doing what you do !! :)

  6. Reed Rundell
    September 3rd, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Great read Nim, keep up the great work!! And if ya have to give out a swift kick in the butt once in a while, we know you can handle that too!! :)

  7. Dave Zortman
    September 3rd, 2009 at 2:56 am

    I’ve been lucky enough to know Nim since back in the days when we both helped out the late Daryl Gohn. I’ve played many a racing board game with him too. During my years working as an official at Williams Grove, Lincoln and Susquehanna speedways, where Nim was usually in attendance, I was always impressed with his knowledge and passion for all forms of motor racing. I can’t think of anyone with more integrity and class to fill such a tough position. Proud of you bud!

  8. Jeff Thomas
    September 3rd, 2009 at 3:27 am

    There could never be a better pick for this postion.. Nim is good people


  9. Michael McGinnis
    September 3rd, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Great read! Thanks Nim for all your hard work!

  10. guy
    September 3rd, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    dude , yer site is a black hole…..

    what gives? are you still doing this or what?

  11. Simon Woodson
    September 3rd, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I always thought Nim was actually an acronym or a nick name. Is that short for something?

  12. Wilbur Gildersleeve Jr
    September 3rd, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I was part of the VRW, as a driver and then a Team Owner. My mouth got me the team owner position.
    Nim tought me a few of the finer things of online racing, from which I learned something I’ll never forget!!

    Thank you Nim!!
    and thank you for the hard work you do as Chief Stewart for iRacing!

  13. Morgan Schooley
    September 9th, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Always been happy with Nim, very fair steward.

    Thanks for a thankless job!

  14. Shawn Murphy
    September 21st, 2009 at 6:05 am

    I love the iRacing system for the most part.

    I haven’t been happy with steward judgements lately, as I think the “Let SR be their guide” is followed a bit too much. With an A license now, I can’t even race rookie races in the Solstice which I miss greatly. I do wish a little more emphasis was placed on the steward position as a teaching tool as well, but I’m not sure that is feasible with only one person doing it, and I’m sure it has to be weighed with thoughts of retention, and the overall well being of iRacing.

    I do think Nim does a great job given the work load though.

  15. Jim A.
    October 24th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Way to go Nim!!! I was very happy when you were selected to the position of Chief Steward. Your calm guidance is the backbone of FIRST.

    Congrarts to iRacing for choosing the best man for the job. Well deserved.