Right now, it probably isn’t the best time to be a Jeff Gordon fan. So far though, in the summer he has finished in the top 12 in three of the past four races, including a third at Dover and a runner up finish at Sonoma yesterday, giving his fans something to smile about — especially his biggest iRacing fan Josef Miele.
Josef Miele, an 18 year old from Schenectady, NY, has been on iRacing since May of 2009. Since joining iRacing, he has run hundreds of races and won in several different cars at several different tracks, but there are many interesting things about him that many of you probably don’t know. Why is his favorite track Dover International Speedway? Which NASCAR driver does he dislike the most? How did he even get his start in sim racing? Will find out the answers to those questions and more in this week’s edition of Get to Know…
Q: How long have you been sim racing?
A: I started sim-racing in 2002 with NASCAR Racing 2002. I didn’t get extremely involved until 2006 when I learned to do more with the mods and paint schemes. Once I bought my first wheel I became totally invested. Now you can’t pull me away from my computer.
Q: How did you get started in iRacing?
A: I got started on iRacing because of the lack of NASCAR console games coming out, in addition to their arcade feels. I saw that NASCAR was actually getting involved and that peeked my curiosity. I needed some NASCAR gaming in my life; little did I realize the simulation and fun I was getting into. I read some reviews and talked my mom into getting me a subscription.
Q: Which race car driver in any racing series do you dislike the most?
A: The only thing I know about is NASCAR. I really can’t stand Jimmie Johnson. I began hating Johnson when he took the Cup away from (Jeff) Gordon in 2007. He just seems so arrogant and perfect. His ability to be flawless on the racetrack really aggravates me; show you’re weaknesses like the rest of us. That five in a row stuff, that didn’t help his cause with me.
Q: What type of hobbies do you do outside of iRacing?
A: Outside of iRacing, I am a HUGE diecast collector. I think I’m up to 230 1/24 scale diecasts. I’m also a pretty big bowler, so you’ll constantly find me at the bowling alley. I’m moving into coaching bowling this fall. I’m also really into hanging-out with my friends.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment on iRacing?
A: My greatest accomplishment on iRacing was winning the Divison 2 Title in the 2012 Season 1 Class B Fixed series. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it was to restrain myself and think big picture. Winning a NASCAR title on iRacing seemed impossible on Day One for me; I couldn’t even drive the cars. Two years later I had done the impossible and that was major to me.
Q: What car and track combination on iRacing would you like to drive in real life?
A: I’d love to run the Nationwide Cars on Dover. I love everything about the Nationwide cars. Dover is my favorite track, and I’ve always wanted feel what it’s like falling into the banking and sliding up off Turn 4. That’d be an absolute dream come true, Dover is just a wild track.
Q: What type of racing do you like to watch on TV?
A: NASCAR. That is all that matters to me and it is the only sport I watch. Can’t say any more than I love every NASCAR series and I watch each religiously. People think I’m crazy.
Q: How do you think your fellow iRacers see you?
A: I think that my fellow iRacers see me as a threat, but also as a major jerk. I get to aggressive and pushy in the early stages of races, not to mention that I have a very short fuse. I really hope that my fellow iRacers see me as a clean, respectful driver and don’t worry when they see my name in a session. I certainly hope I don’t have a bad reputation.
Q: What are three things that people on iRacing probably don’t know about you?
A: 1 – I got to wave the Green Flag at Dover in 2011 for being such a big fan of the Speedway. It was the most incredible experience of my life. 2 – I race on a laptop. I don’t know how I do it, but it works. The graphics aren’t great but it gets the job done. 3 – I’ve pretty much dedicated my life to NASCAR. I eat out of NASCAR dishes, and cups. I have NASCAR socks and underwear. I haven’t worn anything but NASCAR shirts the last four years. I love that sport to no end.
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: I would honestly have to go back to the 2007 Daytona 500. We bought an RV and $500 tickets. We got there and our seats were taken. We left before the race even started. I missed one of the most EPIC Daytona 500s because of the long drive back to the hotel.
Q: If there was one thing you could change about iRacing, what would it be?
A: I have to say I’d change the way car numbers are selected in official sessions. Every racer has their own number, and they especially have a certain level of pride behind that number. I think we should have the ability to run our chosen numbers in Official Races, it would add a certain depth to the races. I know I’d know my fellow racers a little bit better.
Q: What is one thing that you love the most about iRacing?
A: I can’t choose one thing. The feeling and the dynamic that iRacing has is incredibly special and sends chills down my spine.
Q: Overall, how do you rate your success on iRacing?
A: Whewwww, tough question. Truthfully, I’d say 4/10. I don’t practice enough to show the speed I have, and I let my emotions get to me. I’ve wrecked too many cars and other drivers because of my pride and I’ve lost a bunch of respect because of that. I’ve let too many races slide from my hands and I’ve been too over confident in my abilities. I’ve done a lot of the things I’ve wanted to do when it comes to winning, but I know I can be better.