In November of 2009 iRacing.com introduced a feature that enables members to host their own races.  A session does cost $3 for the host, but he or she can have as many people join as they want for free as long as there is a stall for them on pit road.

The most significant advantage to hosting your own race (compared to participating in an official iRacing event) is the ability to write your own rules.  This gives the host some great tools to create some really exciting events.  Some sites even run their own series complete with prizes for the winners.  Among the best examples of this feature are fantastic events like the STPC (Short Track Pro Cup) Thunder presented by ONeil PC systems (http://www.stprocup.com; http://www.oneilpcsystems.com).  These events are hosted by the STPC series and broadcast by WRN, the web racing network (http://www.webracingnetwork.com/Default.aspx).

STPC's Thunder at Irwindale is just one of many hosted events on iRacing.com

(1) STPC's Thunder at Irwindale is just one of many hosted events on iRacing.com

Special events like these are made possible by the hosted racing feature.  As someone who participated in the most recent STPC race, I was blown away by how much fun I had.  It was just like going to my local short track and watching a race.

The only difference was instead of being an excited spectator I was an adrenaline- fueled competitor.”

The race featured Chevy Monte Carlo SS on Toyota Speedway at Irwindale’s outer track.  There were four qualifying heats with the top four from each heat advancing to the main event.  For those who didn’t qualify directly there was also a last chance heat to qualify for the main event.  The first four heats were 35 lap sprint races with cautions off.

Qualifying was run in a two lap format, and I put all my eggs in one basket.  On my first flying lap I took a slower line into Turn Three to get a faster exit out of Turn Four and, presumably, a really quick second lap.  Unfortunately it all came undone in Turn Two as my qualifying setup had me so close to the edge that I fell over the edge and spun.  Although I had one of the top four practice times, I qualified eleventh.

The race started like most short track races when there are 16 cars on the track.  Someone didn’t give someone enough room and spun, collecting a few cars.  With cautions off and only the top four advancing to the Main, the only thing to do is stay in the gas and hope you make it through.  Thankfully, I managed to miss the first incident and found myself in ninth place after three laps.  I was able to pick-off a couple more positions as the checkered flag approached but, with only 35 laps and some stiff competition, my chances of moving into the top four were pretty much shot by my qualifying mistake unless something happened to the leaders.

But that’s the great thing about short track racing: something can always happen…”

After the race I had a chance to watch the broadcast and the battle for fourth was intense.  The car in fifth took a chance that may have been ill-advised as his car pushed up into the fourth place car, causing them to both brush the outside wall.  Having been run-up the track, the iRacer who just got bumped out of a transfer spot went for broke and tried to reclaim the position on the next turn.   Instead of regaining fourth, he ended-up spinning-out both cars.

VW Jetta TDI "Mini Stocks" at USA International Speedway

(2) STPC's VW Jetta TDI Mini Stock Series at USA International Speedway: "The most significant advantage to hosting your own race . . . is the ability to write your own rules."

So I went from seventh to fifth with eight laps to go.  Unfortunately, my tires were pretty much shot at that point and I needed a mistake from the driver ahead of me in order to transfer to the main event.  Instead, the driver behind me made the mistake, when he barely touched my rear bumper in the corner and spun me out.  Thankfully I did a complete 360 and got going again.  But at that point I was in ninth and simply riding to the finish waiting for the last chance qualifying heat.

The last chance heat was a 25 lap sprint race with cautions off.  I didn’t ruin my qualifying chances, but with 26 cars in the race I didn’t qualify as high as I would have liked and started 11th.  This race also had an early spin which I got caught-up in.  While I made it through with no real damage to my car, I had to come to a stop as the track was completely bottled-up.  The rest of the heat was relatively uneventful and I finished ninth.  That did not end my night, however.  I could have participated in the 150 lap consolation race, but I elected to bypass the consolation race in favor of watching the main event.

The main event was a 150 lap race with cautions turned on.  With a 26 car field and door-to-door short track racing, pit strategy would certainly be a factor.  These cars can make it 150 laps on fuel, but after 30 laps there’s a definite drop-off in tire performance.  Ultimately, a driver who chose not to pit during a caution in favor of track position won what turned-out to a time-shortened race, one filled with too many cautions, but which also provided some great racing.

Thompson celebrates a PTC win.

(3) Justin Thompson celebrates an STPC win.

Another thing to consider about iRacing’s hosted service is that races can have a time limit.  Just like Formula 1 and other forms of racing, if there are too many caution laps or other delays, the race may run out of time before it goes the distance.  In the case of the STPC Thunder at Irwindale, they ran 137 of the 150 laps before finishing with a bit of controversy similar to the recent Schumacher pass on Alonso at the Monaco GP.  A late caution resulted in a green/checkered finish, the point being that you couldn’t pass anyone until they crossed the start/finish line . . . by which point the race was over.  In fact, after the pace car pulled-in, the drivers did race back to the line with the second place car first across.  Timing and scoring duly reported him as the winner with no black flag being given.  However, after the race the “stewards” rightly awarded the race win to the driver who had been leading under caution.

All five heats were broadcast, as was the main event.  What’s more, the broadcasts were archived, enabling those who competed in the event to watch it later,  at their convenience.  Believe me, hearing your name on the broadcast and competing for prize money in a race like that is the closest thing many of us will ever get to professional racing.

iRacing.com is creating a database of different iRacing-related websites.  This is just one example of some spectacular things going on within iRacing’s hosted service.  If you want to get involved, check-out iRacing’s links page: http://iracing.com/overview/community-sites/ If you’re running a hosted league or have an iRacing-related website please email contact@iracing.com and put in an email link to submit your site.

Remember: There’s a series out there for everyone.  If you’ve never tried hosted racing, you’re missing out on some of the most intense fun iRacing.com has to offer.

Screen shots courtesy of Matt Menghi (1 & 3), Dennis Heaney (2) and STPC.

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Great article. I can vouch that Mark runs a great league at STPC. Best oval racing league out there. If your looking for road racing take a look at the SSCA. http://www.sscarace.com

Mixed class racing going on right now with other great series coming at the start of next season.

Can’t wait to see what iRacing has coming up the pipe for league admins.

alex ulleri
June 18th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Alex I will have to try that sometime. Matthew Voight is someone I talk to regularly and he said the same thing after reading the article. I’d be happy to try out your series and write an article about it.

Ryan Terpstra
June 19th, 2010 at 2:11 am

Great article Ryan, the STPC event we ran was a lot of fun. When I read that you wrote “So I went from seventh to fifth with eight laps to go. Unfortunately, my tires were pretty much shot at that point and I needed a mistake from the driver ahead of me in order to transfer to the main event. Instead, the driver behind me made the mistake,”, I laughed, as it was me you were referring to. Hope to race against you again

Anyway, I’d like to add that we run more than the once-in-a-while Short Track Thunder races. We run the Pro Cup divisions (Premier, Div. B, Div. C), all late models, on Sundays that are based on your iRating, plus the Late Model East on Tuesdays, Triad Sk Modifieds on Wednesday, and we just added an Indy league that runs on either Thursdays or Fridays… I don’t remember. If you’re interested in joining the STPC, you can contact me on the iRacing boards or through the STPC site, or contact Mark Royer. http://www.stprocup.com. Registration is easy and you can run any combination of the divisions, personally I run all of the Late Model series and the Modifieds. It’s the most fun I have on iRacing.

Matt Menghi
Pro Cup Premier admin

Matt
June 19th, 2010 at 4:39 am

Thanks Ryan for a fun recap of your experiences that night. It was a heck of a time, in my opinion, and I think most drivers will agree. A little heavy on cautions at times, but I think mostly from hard driving and an unfortunate controversy at the end – but hey, what local short track doesn’t deal with those issues every week!

Full results here: http://www.danlisa.com/scoring/season_schedule.php?season_id=291

Here’s the post race recap I wrote:

Jeremy Davis takes Feature in Spring Short Track Internationals
May 31th, 2010 – Mark Royer

Last Sunday Short Track Pro Cup (STPC) hosted the first of a series of webcast, heat-feature styled events. The event, the Spring Short Track Internationals, was presented by O’Neil PC Systems. All iRacing subscribers were invited to participate. Fifty-six drivers took the green in four heats. From the heats and a last chance qualifier, twenty-five drivers transferred to the feature event. The feature and all heats, excepting the first from a technical/scheduling snafu, were webcast by WRN. Both individual and team competitions were held.

Four drivers qualified directly for the feature by having won an STPC sanctioned series in 2010-Season-1. Toby Jenkins won the Premier Pro Cup division and the Modifieds series. Andrew Hill for winning the Pro Cup B division, Jason Saltsman the Pro Cup C division and finally Jeremy Davis from the Late Model-East series.

Four drivers from each of the four heats transferred directly into the feature. The next six from each heat got one more shot at the feature in the last chance qualifier. Heat 1 of 11 cars was taken by Richard Shomer. Heat 2 started 13 cars and it was Blake Brown who took the checkers. Rockin’ for Madison Heat 3 saw Camaron Manis in victory lane in front of 13 other cars and in Heat 4 Tony Dugan got top honors in a 15 car field.

A mere 25-laps of the last chance qualifier presented by AAMCO of Ft. Walton Beach, separated 22 drivers from the feature with only five drivers escaping the clutches of elimination. Joshua Guiher took top honors and secured his place in the final event.

All drivers who failed to make the feature were invited to take part in a consolation race which saw 15 drivers take the green and Jacob Guiher (Joshua’s brother) receive the checkers.

The feature was a hard-fought, 150-lap battle among some of the best short track drivers on the internet. But, after 11 lead changes between 6 drivers, it was Jeremy Davis who snagged a controversial victory under caution. View all the excitement building to the dramatic conclusion on WRN.

Staple Web Design awarded the design of a new website to Jenkins Motorsports, the winning team of Toby Jenkins, Blake Brown, Darrell McKee and Camaron Manis.

-Mark Royer
stpcAdmin@comcast.net

Mark Royer
June 19th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

We’re planning the next Short Track Thunder event to occur near the end of July or the beginning of August – depending on WRN broadcasting availability.

This time we’ll be driving late models at the newly released Thompson. So, keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be opening signups soon. This one is going to be awesome short track fun and we’ll have two STPC Heats (for STPC drivers) and two Open Heats that any iRacing subscriber is welcome to sign up for.

Can you make it into the feature???

-Mark R.

Mark Royer
June 19th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

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