Around the track, they say "rubbin' is racin,'" but in the video game world of "NASCAR Unleashed," it's more like the "crash and dash" as wrecking your rival is the quickest way to move up in the rankings.
A tactic NASCAR driver and "Unleashed" fan J.J. Yeley loves about the new game.
"The beauty of the video game is there's smoke, there's fire, you're flipping and it all looks cool, but at the end, the computer resets itself and you're still racing," Yeley tells me over the phone as we talk NASCAR and the state of virtual driving. "In real life, it's very scary. The speed we're traveling and the impact we're hitting another car or hitting the wall, and that feeling of not being able to control what's happening ... you're going around a corner at 190 miles per hour and that split second when you blow a tire and the time between you blowing a tire and hitting the fence, as a driver, that takes an eternity because you know what's coming, you know it's going to hurt, but you can't change it.
"In the video game, you're back racing in seconds."
And the last few weeks, Yeley knows all about the crash and recover time of "NASCAR Unleashed" as he's been practicing every day with his six-year-old daughter, Faith, in order to get her ready for the first ever Battle of the NASCAR Kids video game tournament. Here, the children of famous drivers put their dad's in the backseat for once, taking the wheels of "NASCAR Unleashed" and racing for the chance to give $5,000 to their favorite charity.
"She's the only girl, and she's the youngest of the group that's racing," Yeley boasts like the proud father he is. "The finale is going to be up in the grandstands at the Miami Speedway on Saturday morning. Joey Logano is serving as the driving coach for all of the kids. GameStop is one of his sponsors, so it all ties together perfectly. Me and my wife will be right behind her cheering her on."
And while "Unleashed" is geared towards the younger audience, Yeley says he's been enjoying his time with the game as well, especially the aspect of creating various rivals on the track.
Says Yeley: "In real life, tempers flare and things will carry over from week to week. This season has been a bit more of a free-for-all, and that's something NASCAR has been working on to make it more exciting. Their whole motto was: Drivers, have at it. They wanted more tempers out there, they wanted the personalities of the drivers out there, and these things are showing more in 2011 than they ever have before."
As for his advice on how to win in "NASCAR Unleashed," Yeley goes back to his favorite topic, wrecking fools.
"At the end of the day, no matter what video game you're playing, the goal is the same, and that's to win," he says. "With 'NASCAR Unleashed,' that means you're going to wreck guys, you're going to create rivals, and at the end of the day, you're going to do whatever it takes to win. And in this game, that's crashing and banging.
"Do whatever it takes to win. And that's in real life and the video game. That's the motto of the day."