It’s common for sim-racers to sing iRacing’s benefits in making the transition from online racing to real world motorsports. In Lee Ball’s case, you could almost say the process has worked in reverse. The McLeansville, NC resident already had plenty of real racing miles under his belt when he joined iRacing in 2012. So you could say he put the racing know-how and savvy he learned in karts, Limited Late Models and Late Models to use once he added iRacing to his resume.
Then again, sim-racing has been a part of Ball’s repertoire from an early age – seven to be exact — when he contracted the virtual bug via NASCAR 96 . . .
In any case, he sure proved to be a quick study on iRacing, winning the 2012 Season 2 NASCAR iRacing.com National Series rookie title, then coming home third overall (P1 in Division 2) in that series in 2012 S4, just behind NiNS champion Jeremy Lukaszka and Sean Robbins. And his 45 wins in 211 races gives him a 21.32% winning rate . . . OK so his overall winning rate stands at 21.23% if you count the one (1) road race he started and didn’t win.
Ball may be off to a relatively slow start in Season Uno of 2013, with just one top five in two NiNS starts, but if his past history is any barometer, it won’t be long before he’s back at or near the top.
Q: How long have you been sim-racing?
A: I’ve been sim racing since I was seven years old racing NASCAR 96 on our first computer, then NASCAR 99. Eventually getting into PS2/PS3 NASCAR games, back to NR2003, and now 2012 was my first year on iRacing. (And I love it.)
Q: What attracted you to iRacing?
A: I had heard about it a few years ago from a friend who had it. I thought it was just a newer version of NR2003, but I started racing it at his house some and found out how realistic it is.
Q: What are favorite iRacing cars/tracks?
A: Definitely the K&N Series, Late Models, and Trucks of course. As far as tracks go, Richmond, Martinsville, Dega, New Hampshire
Q: What do you like most about iRacing?
A: The time that the iRacing crew spends making sure that they are giving us the most realistic format of racing that they can at the time.
Q: What would you change about iRacing?
A: Possibly a few more series. I would like to see a K&N series where you have open sets and cautions, longer races, etc….. And also a few car adjustments that are not in play right now: Bump steer, Ackerman, Brake Blowers (even on the lower divisions) More interactive controls inside the cockpit: switches flipping up and down… “hardcore mode” no info on screen, actually starting the car, stalling if you don’t let the clutch out correctly, blowing tires, engines, snapping an axle leaving the pits . . . lol. You get the point.
Q: How many hours a week do you spend on iRacing?
A: 10-15 roughly.
Q: Tell us about the paint schemes on your helmet/car(s).
A: Just got into the custom stuff, again this is was my first year. Just finished a pretty sweet Race22.com scheme though… Check them out Race22.com All Late Models All The Time.
Q: What other sim-racing activities (Forza, rFactor, Gran Turismo, etc.) do you do?
A: Gran Turismo 5 (when iRacing is down) rarely.
“I believe that another kid (or adult) on (iRacing) is one less that could be into bad stuff. I applaud iRacing for all they do.”
Q: What are your favorite video games?
A: Actually one stands out more than others. I think it was 2002; Nasser Dirt to Daytona on PS2 came out and seemed way ahead of its time. I loved that game. They were the first to make the setups and adjustments seem like they did what they were supposed to with the car.
Q: Do you do any real world racing? Has iRacing been of any benefit?
A: Yes. I raced go-karts for seven years here in North Carolina, and then moved up to a Limited Late Model at Caraway Speedway and Ace Speedway. (iRacing please go sign those tracks!) And now a Late Model when I have time (and $$$) at Ace Speedway. iRacing has been a benefit to me in a bit of a different way than most. Since I don’t race my real Late Model as much, because of funding, I’m able to still get my racing fix on here and actually have fun racing real people, just not on a real track in a real car. And believe me, when you tear a car up in real life, you can’t hit a reset button. It costs a lot of money. So iRacing has provided me with the same competitiveness that driving for real does. And for the record, YES I would pick racing my real car over Iracing on the weekend. Sorry! lol!
Q: What is your most memorable iRacing moment?
A: Ahh, many, many so far. But I think it would be Martinsville 2012 Season 3 K&N Series. I had the fastest time for that week so far but I was still working on it. Scott Speed enters the qualifying session with me. We make our runs at about the same time and his time flashes up quicker than my record. One lap later I lay down an even quicker time. He quickly noticed and told me I ruined his 15 second celebration… lol. So that was pretty cool.
Q: What is the iRacing moment you’d love to forget?
A: Oh definitely trashing this guy’s car after the race. I had a seven second lead and he’s like 21+ laps down and wrecked me because he was mad at another guy. I don’t have a microphone yet and it was a good thing I didn’t that day.
Q: What car/track would you like to see iRacing add to the service?
A: Super Late Models, Bandoleros, and go-karts. Tracks: Hickory, Caraway, Ace, and of course Motor Mile.
Q: What person, living or dead do you most admire?
A: Jesus Christ. Without Him we would be nothing. John 3:16 And as for here, I most admire my dad. He sacrificed so much for me so we could go racing on the weekends and he has taught me a lot of good things in life. When we were racing on regular 2005-2010, we would stay up til 2am and 3am working on the car, setting it up, just so we could give it a shot at the track that next day. Working for what you have makes you respect the sport so much more than having it all handed to you.
Q: What’s your favorite real world racing series?
A: I really like the K&N East Series, but it’s a tough call. Late Models is where the action is!
Q: Name the title of the most recent book you read.
A: South Beach Diet.
Q: Name of your favorite movie/TV show?
A: CSI Miami.
Q: How many of your close friends are iRacing members?
Q: Has competing with iRacers all around the world influenced your opinions/outlook on life/world events? How?
A: Yes it’s great to see all these younger people on here (well I’m 23, but whatever). You know racing is an awesome sport, and I mean these guys on here could be doing anything else; getting in trouble, using drugs, drinking and driving, but they have a place where they can come and spend their time racing and having an awesome time! Safely. And some people say that the violence in video games could be causing these freak murder suicides, usually younger guys, but here is an awesome game that doesn’t get near as violent. So yes I believe that another kid (or adult) on here is one less that could be into bad stuff. I applaud iRacing for all they do.