I've had many blog posts regarding my adventures on iRacing but I don't think I've had any such adventure as the story from a race last night.
I was in a NASCAR race at Daytona and actually was doing quite well. Now I won't bore you with a full race recap, but I wasn't being aggressive and was staying clean and somehow I took the lead on lap 50 of 70 and maintained it until lap 67. Through turns three and four I lost the lead and fell back to 3rd, but I went back to 2nd and down the back straight I got a run on the leader. I have no idea what the burst of speed came from but I decided it was then or never so I went to the left of the leader, he moved his car down a little bit, and I was now on the yellow line.
For most of my readers I'm sure the phrase "yellow line" means nothing. At this track NASCAR has a rule that passing below it isn't allowed as once the corner is reached there is no banking below the line and a crash can happen. I knew this, but I was just on the line, what was the worst that could happen? Besides, I had the speed to clear the leader, right? Wrong.
The corner was approaching and my calculations were wrong; I didn't have the speed to make the pass. For some reason I turned further down which put me way below the yellow line and I was now on a one-way ticket to crashville. When I did make it to the corner I stabbed the brakes to try and avoid a certain crash but it was too late; my car didn't turn and up the track I went taking the former leader out along with several cars behind.
I was now the leader but wanted no part of it. Other drivers were talking up a storm but I wanted no part of it and I took my headset off. What was I going to do? I mean, this is the top tier level of cars on iRacing and here I was leading the event. A win is a win, or so they say, but does one win at any cost? When is a win not a win even though they won? I was debating this.
The race was going to finish under the yellow flag so the win was a guarantee. Yet there was no celebrating for me; I made a mistake, a move I normally would never go for as I pride myself on being one of the cleaner racers. Lap 68 came and went, then lap 69, and finally the final lap.
Yellow flag laps at Daytona are long, well over two minutes, so I had plenty of time to reflect and debate what this win would mean and as we were in turn three I made my mind up; I was not going to win this race.
This was one of the hardest decisions I think I've ever made, at least when it comes to a game, as I fight for each and every win I get on iRacing as wins don't come easy much less a win at Daytona on iRacing. I very much wanted the win, but not like this. So, as we came down towards the finish line I turned hard left onto pit road which allowed the other cars to pass me. Indeed they did and I came across the line in 5th place.
I decided to put my headset back on at this point in time as I was curious as to what the response would be to this move as I don't know if it's been done before. Some drivers thought that I might have not known the race was going on, but then other drivers mentioned that it was the "classy" thing to do. The mood changed and the words of anger vanished. I didn't dare speak but I did type in the chat box, "I didn't deserve the win."
I'm not sure if giving up the win did anything, but I know I felt better. Yes, you may think that this is a blog post about nothing because, after all, I'm talking about a game, but for those that do race in iRacing it isn't simply a game and the cars that each person race against aren't simply an AI as every car is a real person from every part of the world. For those that were caught up in the crash that was nearly two hours of work destroyed. Obviously I didn't set out to ruin their fun, but I put myself in a bad spot, caused a crash, and they were angry. Because of this I did the only logical choice my mind could come up with. Was it enough? I'm not sure but as I said, I felt better because I don't think many people, regardless of the situation, would relinquish a sure win. After all, a win is a win, right? I now know that the cost of winning at all costs is too great and I wasn't willing to live with the cost.