iRacer Dexter Castro celebrates his four year anniversary on iRacing in a couple days and in that time, he has accomplished . . . well, a lot of things on and off the sim. Not even being diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger’s Syndrome at age 12 has stopped him from his living life and from tearing-up the virtual track. The 20 year old has nearly 140 career victories in 666 oval starts, and has raced to victory lane in eight official races on road courses. In addition, Castro (who hails from “the land of the mosquito-bird” aka Maine) has an IndyCar division championship on his very long iRacing resume.
Learn more about Dexter in this week’s edition of Get to Know…
Q: What attracted you to racing in the first place?
A: Well, I grew up in a house without cable TV. So other than the occasional Indy race, NASCAR was pretty much the only racing that was available for me to watch. My dad was a relatively casual fan of Dale Earnhardt. My earliest racing memory is finding out that Dale Sr. had died in a wreck. For some reason or another, I became a Tony Stewart fan, and as a result, wound-up appreciating road courses. They were always the highlights of the season, because they were interesting and different, and my favorite driver had a good chance of winning.
Q: When did you start sim racing and how?
A: I had the 2003 and 2005 EA sports games, but they never were really enough. I’d turn all the assists off, race at the highest difficulty, and even intentionally not do any R&D in the career mode, but then the AI would become erratic and dangerous on most of the ovals. So I tended to burn-out on it after a couple of weeks and go back to playing Madden or something.
The first I heard of actual sim racing was one of my dad’s friends telling me about an online league. If I were to guess, it was probably for NR2003. Several years later, when NASCAR.com had an article on iRacing, I jumped at it.
Q: How invested, would you say, are you into your sim racing?
A: In terms of financial investment, I probably have around $1000 into it in my four years. Half of that is into the computer and wheel, considering I started with half a gig of RAM on Vista!
In terms of mental/emotional investment, I’m definitely far more invested. I’ve been around for the birth of three thriving road course leagues: The MX-5 World Tour (which I am an admin of), Continental Endurance Sports Car Series (CESCS), and DGFX World Endurance Series. I also founded a team, 49 Motorsports, which just last year won its first championships, taking both classes in CESCS.
“Heading into the infield under the final caution, my mind lost the battle to matter . . .”
Q: Your most memorable race on iRacing and why?
A: Ooh, tough one. CESCS is absolutely littered with memories, both good and bad. Our first 1-2 and our first podium sweep; rivals; drama. I guess my “most memorable” race would be my first win in CESCS, which was my first win in any league. It was the season opener in the summer of 2013 at Daytona. I almost forgot the race was even that weekend. After dodging chaos for two hours, I was the only person left with any kind of pace, and won easily. It wasn’t exactly a glorious hard-fought victory, but it was my first.
The kicker, though, is that I had to run for a change of pants before the interview. I had been sick that week, and had drunk multiple bottles of Gatorade leading-up to the race. Heading into the infield under the final caution, my mind lost the battle to matter, and well, I think you know the rest.
Q: What other hobbies do you do outside of sim racing?
A: I’ve always asserted that I’m capable of finding amusement in any form of entertainment, so I have a ton of hobbies, and some things that I would do if all my other hobbies didn’t take up so much time! My two biggest passions other than racing are theatre and art. I’ve been acting since I was six, and have been in at least two shows every year since I was eight. I think I’ve done close to 40 in total. I studied Illustration at SCAD for a year, before art school proved to be very expensive and stressful. I also am a big New England sports fan, and play golf. I’m also a huge fan of Rooster Teeth, and watch pretty much all of their web series.
Q: What job do you do in real life?
A: I work as an IT assistant at a terminal for a shipping company. That basically means that I follow the actual IT guy around, and do whatever tasks don’t need an expert’s touch. I’m currently looking for another job, as it is part-time and can’t really provide enough hours.
Q: Funniest moment you have had on iRacing?
A: Funniest? I can’t really recall anything really being “funny” in-race. There have been some gems in the broadcasts of leagues I’m in, though, usually courtesy of Mr. Bill Zahn. If I had to choose one, it would be Bill trying to remember the gender of my teammate Sky Willis, during an MX-5 World Tour race at Bathurst. This was followed by Sky plastering pictures of Tom Selleck all over her car for the next races, to clarify the situation.
Q: Most bizarre moment you have had on iRacing?
A: See the aforementioned wetting my pants to get my first league win. Nothing has beaten that.
Q: If you had the opportunity to race in real life, would you take it and why?
A: Absolutely. Provided, of course, that I’d have a month or two to do some physical training. I’m not exactly a big guy. But I’d definitely love to race in some sort of sports car. If I’m ever wealthy, you can bet I’m going to be a pay-driver in a pro-am class somewhere.
Q: Most exciting thing you’ve in real life this year?
A: I guess the most exciting thing this year would be getting my first “real” job, even if it is part-time. Suddenly having a somewhat reliable source of money is really great.
“If I’m ever wealthy, you can bet I’m going to be a pay-driver in a pro-am class somewhere . . .”
Q: Name one place you want to visit this year.
A: Hmm. Well, I’m heading off to Texas in a month, so that kind of makes any other travel unrealistic for financial reasons. But If I could choose anywhere, I’d love to visit Japan one day. The culture –both the modern and the ancient– is so interesting to me, and I’m a sucker for mountainous landscapes.
Q: What is one race you would like to see live at the track that you haven’t yet?
A: Le Mans, of course. There is nothing else in motorsport that can even compare. To be there live, for such an amazing event, would be a dream come true.
Q: What is your favorite moment on iRacing from this year?
A: My favorite iRacing moment this year could really be called team racing in general. Driver swaps have been so much fun. My favorite would have to be taking home the class win working with Chris Hughson in the first ever CESCS driver-swap race.
Q: Tell us a little about your family.
A: I have a bit older than average parents; my dad was almost 46 when I was born. I have two half-sisters, who are 39 and 36. Their mother passed away from cancer when they were young teenagers. I also have a younger brother, who is 16. He’s also a freaking genius, very proud of him! One of my aunts lives right down the street, so I consider her to practically be in my immediate family. We also have three cats: Daisy, Skip, and Clover. I consider myself very fortunate to have had such a great family and childhood.