iRacing Oval Guide NASCAR Cup Pit Stop
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Watch: iRacing Oval Guide For Beginners with ELZ

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Getting into the art of turning left can be overwhelming, but our iRacing Oval Guide is here to help. Watch ELZ’s tips and tricks for the basics of the discipline!

Just like iRacing itself can be tricky to get into, oval racing on the premier sim for online competition might seem a bit overwhelming – especially if you are a road cours racer first and foremost. As anyone who looked into the discipline for a little while will know, there is much more to it than simply flooring the throttle and turning left. And then there is iRacing‘s license system.

But fear not, future speedway racer! If you have taken a look at our Twitch channel recently, you will know that not only our own René has recently found himself enjoying oval racing a lot, but also that Eliza “ELZ” Indriani has been streaming her oval endeavours for OverTake on the weekends. Now, ELZ shares her advice on how to get going on the speedway side of things.

Even retro NASCAR vehicles are available in iRacing. Image credit: iRacing.com

iRacing Oval Guide: Getting Started

Good news for those curious about getting started in oval racing: You do not need to purchase any content to compete in the Rookie class. The stock content is enough to earn your D license. Despite the disciplines being so vastly different, the endurance racing mindset will go a long way on this mission. Staying out of trouble, avoiding contact with others and simply making sure to finish as many races as possible will soon net you the required safety rating.

The focus is on clean racing rather than great finishing positions, then. Do not bother with your iRating too much, but rather with learning as much as possible when it comes to keeping your car in one piece and saving tires. Overdriving will cause your set of tires to lose grip considerably later on, putting you at a disadvantage – so keeping things smooth is also rather important.

Once you bagged your D license, more choice in series to compete in opens up. These will see you compete at bigger ovals and in faster cars, so they are perfect for learning the ins and outs of drafting and racing wheel to wheel with other cars around yours.

Dirt or Paved?

It is important to note that there are two separate oval licenses, just like for road racing. One focuses on paved ovals, such as Indianapolis, Daytona, Talladega or Texas Motor Speedway, the other is all about dirt ovals like Lucas Oil Speedway, the Chili Bowl or Knoxville Raceway. So mastering one does not promote you in the other!

Meanwhile, C-class series introduce yet another essential oval racing mechanic, namely full-course cautions. The laps behind the pace car can have a significant impact on your race strategy. which is particularly important in open-wheelers.

For paved ovals, they are basically one of two branches, so to speak. The opposite of the ultra-fast, but ultimately single seaters are stock cars, like those of the NASCAR ladder. They are heavier and rely on downforce a lot less, but are more durable and require a different driving style.

Arguably the most famous oval in the world: Indanapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. Image credit: iRacing.com

iRacing Oval Guide: Get Comfortable in Offline Practice

To find out which suits you best, you can run these cars in offline practice. That way, you will not ruin other drivers’ races should you struggle and crash out in them. Once you feel comfortable in a car, you can try competing in it.

Of course, oval racing is even deeper than what is shown in our guide, but it should serve as a good starting point to get you ready to dive into the finer details. And who knows – maybe you will be among the front runners in one of 2024’s oval-based iRacing Special Events, such as the returning Indy 500.

Did you find ELZ’s guide helpful? What are your experiences with getting started on iRacing‘s ovals? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!

Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia. I have been working in sim racing since 2021 after previously working with pro and amateur sports teams and athletes for a daily newspaper in Wolfsburg. Nothing gets me more excited than motor racing, especially with the beastly machines of the past. A third pedal and h-shifter are not just options for a rig, they are mandatory to me. Avid fan of the IndyCar series (modern and CART/pre-split).