This week, I interviewed iRacer Diego Antonio “Drake” Alvarado. The 15 year old from Riverside, California has been on iRacing for 17 months and has already shown he can run up front and win races in any series. Alvarado has 37 wins and nearly 200 top fives in 467 oval starts on iRacing. Although he has only run in 60 road races, his average finish compared to his oval statistics is better: In 60 starts, he has seven wins and has finished in the top five in nearly half of his starts. Clearly, whether it’s on the high banks of Daytona or the twists and turns at Lime Rock, when Drake Alvarado enters an iRacing event, he is sure to be a contender. You can learn more about him in this week’s edition of Get to Know…
Q: How long have you been sim racing?
A: I’ve been sim-racing since mid-2008 on NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, but didn’t really take NR serious until about Late 2010. That’s when I started to join online leagues and that’s when I discovered ‘Hey I’m not bad at this!’ Came over to iRacing in February 2012 and have been hooked ever since.
Q: How did you get started in iRacing?
A: Just stumbled across a recommended video on my YouTube channel and saw it was for this thing called “iRacing.” I was like, “What is this?” I went ahead and watched the video and was like ‘This is amazing!” Right after I finished watching the video, I starting researching about iRacing and once I felt I was prepared to join, went ahead and got it and I’ve been hooked ever since then.
Q: Which race car driver in any racing series do you dislike the most?
A: Two words. Kyle Busch. I used to be a fan of the guy back in 2007 but since the moment he joined Gibbs and started getting all cocky and crybaby I just couldn’t take it and had lost all respect for Rowdy. Kyle has talent and is hell of a race car driver, he just needed to control his emotions and thankfully he’s seem to have done that since his incident back at the Texas Truck Race back in 2011.
Q: What type of hobbies do you do outside of iRacing?
A: Well I currently compete in indoor Karting competitions all over Southern California, I would like to get in real kart racing, but funding has not yet allowed us to do so. I also make videos on YouTube; I have two main channels: 18diegodd & 22diegodd. It’s mostly related to NASCAR and gaming/sim-racing stuff.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment on iRacing?
A: As of now it would have to be the fact that I have won at least twice in every oval car. I never really got serious about going out and trying to win a championship in my division, but I will be competing for the Class A Fixed & Open setup championships in Season 3.
“I think it’s pretty cool how (iRacing) never sleeps.”
Q: What car and track combination on iRacing would you like to drive in real life?
A: Nationwide car at Montreal. I absolutely love the Nationwide car at road courses; so much fun to drive around in. And now with Montreal out on iRacing, it’s like cream of the crop. I love watching the races at Montreal so much and was bummed out when I heard that the NASCAR Nationwide Series wouldn’t be returning to the track in 2013. It was definitely one of those races that you circle on your calendar.
Q: What type of racing do you like to watch on TV?
A: Anything with four wheels really. I love watching NASCAR and IndyCar. I’m also starting to get into Global Rallycross, it’s short and sweet. With obstacles and jumps it’s a lot of fun to see the drivers battle it out in the main.
Q: How do you think your fellow iRacers see you?
A: I’d like to think that they see me as a driver who can get it done when put on the spot; a clean, respectful driver. But I only treat drivers with respect if they can respect me. I’m not afraid to teach someone a lesson if I have to.
Q: What are three things that people on iRacing probably don’t know about you?
A: The computer that I play iRacing on isn’t my computer. I sit on a sad grey folding metal chair when I’m sim-racing. I multitask a lot under cautions, like the second I catch up to the pace car, I get on my phone and check Facebook/twitter/instagram/email etc. etc.
Q: If you could go back and see one race from the past (past Monaco GPs, Daytona 500s, etc.), live at the track, what race would you choose?
A: Without a doubt the 1998 Daytona 500. When that race happened I was a little over a month old and now when I go back and look at how great of a driver Dale Sr. really was, I would like to have been there on that day at that race to see the environment after the race. It was truly something special to see how many people congratulated and were happy for Dale winning that race after all that he had been through the last few tries.
Q: Out of all the NASCAR races you have seen live at the track, which one was your favorite and why?
A: I’ve only been to two NASCAR tracks before, Vegas and Fontana. The 2013 Auto Club 400 has to be my #1 Favorite, with everything that had happened . . . the fight, the finish, and the Gen6 debut at California Speedway. It was all a great fun action race weekend.
Q: If there was one thing you could change about iRacing, what would it be?
A: SR System. I don’t like how if you get hit by someone and it wasn’t your fault, you still get hit hard with SR loss for someone else’s mistake.
Q: What is one thing that you love the most about iRacing?
A: The different variety of cars and tracks. It’s not just a sim revolving around NASCAR like NR2003. I think it’s pretty cool how the service never sleeps. No matter what time is or what day it is, you can always get on and race with others online weather in official sessions or hosted.
Q: Overall, how do you rate your success on iRacing?
A: Out of 10 stars, I would give it a six. I wish I would’ve had help from the beginning when I joined iRacing and known all the info that I know now. But I guess it’s part of the learning process.