I’m going to be perfectly frank here- i don’t see what the big deal is with iRacing. I mean yes we NASCAR fans are jonesing for real racing. But watching people play video games doesn’t seem as exciting to me as a real race. Maybe it’s because I am not a big gamer, unless you consider Words With Friends when I’m bored being a gamer.
That said it seems some people are taking iRacing darn seriously. Bubba Wallace created quite the hubbub rage-quitting in the middle of an iRace and lost a sponsor because of it. For those who don’t know what rage-quitting is- much like the name suggests it quitting in the middle of a video game because things aren’t going your way, but before the game or your life in the game is technically over. He then made some comments on twitter about how people were taking his actions in a video game too seriously. I think it might have been the twitter comments more than the act of rage-quitting that actually caused BlueEmu to discontinue it’s sponsorship of Bubba Wallace. That should have been the driver’s first clue that this was being hailed as something a little more serious than some bored racers playing video games and entertaining fans.
Kyle Larson lost more than just a sponsor- but lost his entire ride (both real and virtual) over uttering a socially unacceptable word during an iRace. Considering the reactions over what happened with Bubba Wallace, we should not be surprised by the harsh consequences over his use of that particular word. It shouldn’t be in any one’s vocabulary, therefore it should not be available for an “excited utterance.” That said, I admit that I am a little disappointed that Larson does not seem to be given any forgiveness at all. He’s lost his sponsors and his team. He’s been mandated to do sensitivity training. I mean- it makes sense that the team owner would want to just put a driver in so that he doesn’t lose any more sponsors. They have to protect their whole organization- it just seems that he’s paid the harshest price of all.
I don’t know anything about driver’s contracts but I hope for there is a clause for competing in virtual events as being representative of their respective race teams. Because who knew a fun night of video gaming would actually lose you your livelihood.