When you are born in a city like Grand Rapids, Michigan, your father loves racing and your last name is Ford, you know you are a natural born racer. Or sim racer. Ironically, iRacer Kevin Ford typically runs Chevrolets. A member since May of 2009, the 27 year old Ford has had six enjoyable years on iRacing, winning seventeen times overall with fourteen wins coming on oval tracks in that period. His success in road racing has been somewhat limited, with three victories in 58 starts; however, last year at the end of Season 2, Ford earned his first iRacing championship in Division 3 of the Road Warrior Series.
Kevin’s iRacing journey though is just getting started, though. We talked about his journey up until now, as well as his life outside of iRacing in this week’s edition of Get to Know:
Q: What attracted you to iRacing in the first place?
A: Back in probably 2008, one early article that really caught my eye was advertising their modified and it mentioned that they had weighed individual parts of the car to take it one step further for assigning proper weight distribution; I signed up within the next year as soon as I had a wheel.
Q: When did you start sim racing and how?
A: I started sim racing at about 10 years old on NASCAR Racing 2 back in the late 90s. My dad came home with a copy of NASCAR 2 and a joystick one afternoon and I haven’t stopped racing since. It wasn’t until I met a friend (Brian Thome) who had the same passion that I started racing online. We figured out how to connect to each other back in the dial-up internet days, and that might have been when my dad first regretted getting me into sim racing. If you didn’t live through dial-up you may not understand, so I will just say that our phone was always ringing (with me yelling throughout the house “Don’t answer it!!”) and our line was constantly tied up for hours at a time. Good times!
Q: How invested, would you say, are you into your sim racing?
A: I would say I am moderately invested in sim racing. I am probably more financially invested than I would care to admit and certainly more than my wife needs to know! I don’t think there is any question that I will always be sim racing: the bigger question is with what sim. Hopefully iRacing is still here in 10 years! (Count on it, Kevin. – Ed)
Q: Your most memorable race on iRacing and why?
A: I don’t have one specific race that really stands out. But the best time I have had was in 2013 season 1 of the Gen6 Fixed. This was the first time I really ran a full championship and paid attention to points. I was in Division 2 at the time and finished 2nd in Division 2 points (which was 12th or 14th overall). I had led the points the previous five to six weeks and lost it on the final weekend. I have never had an online racing game simulate a championship season any better than this.
“I am probably more financially invested (in sim racing ) than I would care to admit and certainly more than my wife needs to know!”
Q: What other hobbies do you have outside of sim racing?
A: I am into sports. I played baseball into college and still play softball most summers.
Q: What job do you do in real life?
A: I am in sales. So I spend all day in an office on the computer/phone.
Q: Funniest moment you have had on iRacing?
A: This is something only I found funny I’m sure. I won an oval race just out of dumb luck (my kind of strategy!!). I had pitted as early as I could and still make the end on fuel, just to get out of traffic because I didn’t bother to qualify. Lo and behold, the race went green and I had made up enough time by myself on new tires to leap-frog the field when they all finally pit. Ha ha ha . . . see it’s not that funny.
Q: Most bizarre moment you have had on iRacing?
A: I can’t think of anything specifically bizarre. I have been on here over five years and there’s no doubt the current iRacing crash physics lead to some bizarre moments (I’ve been launched out of my fair share of tracks) but I can’t really pinpoint just one.
Q: If you were given the opportunity to race in real life, would you take it and why?
A: Absolutely. I have raced a little in 100cc Yamaha go-karts and it’s only ever money keeping me away. If I won the lotto, it would be one of the first things I do. I doubt there are many iRacing members who would answer any differently.
Q: Most exciting thing you’ve in real life this year?
A: Last fall my buddy Brian (the friend I mentioned above), tied for the championship at our local track, Berlin Raceway. He has been running a sportsman there the last five years, and I am one of his two or three regular crew members. It was a lot of fun to finally find the last bit of speed in the car and put together a solid run for the championship.
Q: Name one place you want to visit this year.
A: I would like to see the IndyCars race at Road America. I have heard good things about the facility/track and I think IndyCar is the best racing the US has to offer right now. Go Montoya!
Q: What is one race you would like to see live at the track that you haven’t yet?
A: Unrealistic: I would say Monaco GP (Formula 1). Realistic: either F1 at Montreal or COTA. If you can’t tell, I would like to see an F1 race live, but that is not easy to do from Michigan.
Q: Name three sim racing related goals you would like to accomplish in 2015.
A: Run for an oval championship again, that really sucked me in last time; improve my upper class Road Racing (open wheel), preferably A-Class, which will be much more likely if that new McLaren F1 arrives as planned. And these two go together I think: qualify more often and finish more races.
“Once the track surface is not 100% static and they turn on realistic weather during official sessions I’ll never leave.”
Q: Name three real life related goals you would like to accomplish in 2015.
A: I would like to make it to a Tigers game this summer. I would like to get a few starts in the old go kart if possible. And if all goes well, my wife and I would like to have a baby!
Q: What is one thing you absolutely want to see iRacing add this year?
A; I think the New Surface Model (dynamic track conditions/temp, rubber build up, marbles) is the biggest feature I want that they don’t have yet. I believe Tony Gardner said our days of static track conditions are numbered, so I expect that “soon.” Once the track surface is not 100% static and they turn on realistic weather during official sessions so the air temp and wind aren’t static either, that is when you will ensure I never leave.
Q: Tell us a little about your family.
A: I’ve been married over three years. It is just me, my wife Denise, and our dog Max for now. I have two brothers, one older and one younger. I’m an uncle thanks to my older brother and both of my wife’s sisters, which makes Mom and Dad grandparents! I always figured it was my dad who got me into racing simply by having the race on TV every Sunday. I can only hope the same bug spreads to my kids someday!