July 6, 2023
Oswego, NY - The scheduled test at Oswego Speedway for Michael Conti takes place in one day, as the excitement builds for all involved, MARDON PC reached out to real life Oswego Speedway racers to get their take on a historic occasion.
Former Northeast Modified driver turned sim racer and house driver for EPI and MARDON PC Rich Petrucco had this to say.
“It shows the faith that real drivers and teams put into iRacing in general. Conti's experience and talent in iRacing give him a great foundation for the feel of a real race car and allow real life teams to have a preview and trust level that wouldn't be possible prior to simulation.”
Petrucco, never short on words, continued, “My expectations for Conti are whatever goals he puts on himself. This is a no pressure situation from the MARDON PC team. He's in good equipment and will be supported by several of us who have raced these cars with success. If he wants to push for speed, we'll give him the tools to do it. The biggest thing he will have to get used to is the external sensory of speed and g-force.”
Petrucco boldly states, “This test will show that we can take anyone and train them in a simulation, and put that skill to the track. You no longer have to drop the big bucks of a racecar to be a racer! We would love to see the Oswego Speedway added to the simulator. It would draw even more eyes to an already historic and challenging speedway.”
Current SBS front runner in the Jakes Automotive #73, Noah Ratcliff and the most recent driver of the Haynes Racing SBS that Conti will be running is extremely excited to see this event come together.
“I think it'll be cool to see how iRacing compares to racing in real life and how quickly someone can adapt. I'm sure he will be able to get up to speed and hold a consistent line as the concept is still the same but the feeling is different. I hope more people that sim race will see this as an opportunity to join the class and keep it growing” said Ratcliff.
Nick Barzee, driver of the #31 350 Supermodified also sees the value of a sim racer of Conti’s caliber coming to his home track.
“I think it's great to have a sim racer like Conti race a small block super. iRacing is very realistic, so it will be interesting to see if it translates to the real world. He is fast in the sim world and I expect he will be fast in the SBS. More crossover between iRacing and the real world communities would only be beneficial and help drive more fan engagement at the Oswego Speedway.” added Barzee.
Kyle Reuter, a skilled racer in multiple divisions including SBS at Oswego echoed the sentiment of other drivers.
"This is a very unique experience for all involved at Oswego Speedway including the fans. Having a professional sim racer take his skills and apply them in real life will be very exciting to see. I really think it will help prove what a great tool sim racing can be” Reuter started
Reuter continued with high praise for Conti’s skill set "I have watched Michael race for quite some time now. Michael is so smooth and consistent no matter the track he races at on the sim. I have no doubt Conti will adapt real quick".
"This is really big for the fans at Oswego Speedway. There is so much history at Oswego. Having a professional sim racing champion such as Conti turn laps, just adds to the history books. Thanks to MARDON PC and Oswego Speedway for making this happen" concluded Reuter.
Finally we had a couple past champions weigh in.
Former Track Champion and multi-time SBS Classic Champion Andrew Schartner is thrilled to have Conti join the SBS ranks even if it is only for one night.
“I think it's going to show an interesting perspective of what aspects of the sim translate directly to the real world and which things you still just can't replicate. Michael is exceptional in his craft and I think it's going to be fun to see what he excels at and what he finds challenging with a real car.”
Schartner’s expectations are high, yet measured, “I expect him to get up to speed fairly quickly and be competent. It's never easy to jump into an unfamiliar car and be at top 5 speed. You don't see that from the regulars consistently so I would expect there will be a bit of a learning curve at first for him with it being unfamiliar.”
Schartner’s excitement extends to the fans, “Fans should be excited about this because it shows the recognition that Oswego Speedway has and the effort MARDON PC put in to get someone like Conti to come out. There is for sure an evolution with sim, it's not just a game. Formula one relies heavily on sim data now and I think this is going to help people realize for better or worse this is going to become a part of racing and the fan experience.”
Accomplished Supermodified Champion Dave Shullick Jr welcomes the exposure and the recognition of sim racing as a viable medium for future success in motorsports.
“I think it's great, MARDON PC should be commended for their efforts to make all of this happen. Anytime we can bring exposure to the track and to the small block super division it's a huge plus.”
Shullick hopes that Conti won’t feel any pressure, “Honestly I want to see him go out there and have fun! Hopefully he enjoys going around one of the most iconic tracks in the country.”
“Simulators are being used at all levels of motorsports and iRacing is just a part of that. Sims allow fans of Oswego to experience what it's like to drive a real race car at some of their most favorite tracks, wouldn't it be something to turn laps at Oswego Speedway?”
Conti’s test will take place on July 7th during Fast Friday starting at 5pm, and the grandstand is open free to the public.
Interested in sim racing? Stop down to the Tiki bar below the turn one grandstands to try out a MARDON PC Sim Rig and learn how to get started sim racing.
Connect with MARDON PC and Oswego Speedway