NASCAR just had an incredible event at the L.A. Coliseum. The 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum was an entertainment extravaganza. It was a great way to launch NASCAR into the future. For 2022, NASCAR enters a new generation, including new tracks, new teams, and new cars.
Another subsection of NASCAR entering a new generation would be NASCAR gaming. After the launch of NASCAR 21: Ignition, Motorsport Games led NASCAR gaming into a new era. With so many changes happening, it has proven difficult to keep up. However, Motorsport Games has promised that using the foundation set by Ignition, NASCAR gaming will be able to move forward and give fans a fun, yet realistic experience.
An overwhelming majority of NASCAR fans seemed to enjoy the 2022 Busch Light Clash as well as the L.A. Coliseum. However, those fans will not be able to experience the thrill of that track on the console without the addition of exhibition races. Could this event be the beginning of exhibition races coming back to NASCAR console gaming? Should exhibition races be brought back? What obstacles would be in the way to making this happen? I intend to answer all of those questions down below.
Could the L.A. Clash be the Kickstart?
The L.A. Clash could definitely be the conversation starter within Motorsport Games about bringing in exhibition races to future games. Exhibition races have been out of NASCAR console games for over seven years. Most younger players may not even remember running the Duels at Daytona or the All-Star Race at Charlotte on NASCAR '15. Developers have been able to get away with this for a few reasons. Mainly, these races are not for points. They have no value in the final standings and they do not affect who hoists the championship trophy at the end of a NASCAR season. Another reason is that the tracks that host these exhibition races are also used for points-paying NASCAR races. So the players were still able to get the experience of running on those tracks in the game. That is not the case for the L.A. Coliseum. There are no scheduled points races at this track for the foreseeable future. This means that the addition of the Clash would be necessary for fans to get to run this track on a console.
What Obstacles do the Developers Face?
There are a few obstacles that Motorsport Games faces with adding in Exhibition races. First, and foremost, is the lacklustre release of NASCAR '21: Ignition. It is no secret that fans were not as pleased with the launch of Ignition as Motorsport Games had hoped. The launch of Ignition was met with internal bugs and glitches which nearly made the game unplayable. After multiple patches, the game is somewhat enjoyable nearly four months later. However, a lot of issues still need to be addressed in future games before discussing exhibition races. Motorsport Games held a "Town Hall Q&A" where the team acknowledged the struggles that NASCAR '21: Ignition had. However, it is still to be seen whether these will be fixed in the coming instalments. Also, Motorsport Games is tasked with the Next-Gen car addition. The Next-Gen car is a completely new experience for the drivers of NASCAR, and to keep with that realistic goal, Motorsport Games has to put their full effort into getting those cars right in the games. Furthermore, the Clash has a different format than those point-paying races in the regular season. While perhaps not the most difficult addition, the coding to add in the differing rules for the exhibition races will be different.
Should the Exhibition Races be Added?
The simplest answer to this question is: Yes. Exhibition Races have been out of NASCAR games for quite some time now. Despite the difficulties potentially faced by adding them, these races are commonalities among the NASCAR schedule. Fans want to be able to experience winning an All-Star Race or a Clash. Especially with the addition of the L.A. Coliseum. This is an opportunity to add in exhibition races when they are more popular than ever. Motorsport Games should not pass up this opportunity.
Despite the potential obstacles facing the team, I believe now is the time for Motorsport Games to bring back Exhibition races to the console games. The NASCAR gaming community has asked for this feature to add some realism to the seasons. Hopefully, NASCAR '22 can include this feature and the fans will get another step closer to the full NASCAR experience.