INDIANAPOLIS – Karsyn Elledge will welcome a new sponsor to her Tucker-Boat Motorsports midget team this weekend, as iRacing jumps onboard to back the 18-year-old driver at Kokomo Speedway.
The subscription-based racing simulation company will be featured as part of a blue, black and red paint scheme on Elledge’s No. 1, as she takes to the quarter-mile bullring for the Kokomo Grand Prix on Friday and Saturday.
Elledge has already turned laps at the virtual Kokomo quarter-mile as she prepares for her debut at the real-life version of the historic facility this weekend.
“To be able to run Kokomo on iRacing and be more ready for the two days I’m about to run there is pretty cool,” said Elledge. “It gives you a sense of calm, in a way, because I’ve never raced at Kokomo – I’ve only ever watched races there. Just to be able to see the race track from a somewhat-firsthand perspective and get a feel for it on iRacing gives me a little more peace of mind going into the weekend.”
Elledge, the granddaughter of seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, has a substantial family connection with the iRacing brand.
Her uncle – now-NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. – was one of the early pioneers of the service and won the inaugural race in what is now the eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series, the highest division of NASCAR-sanctioned competition on the iRacing simulation.
“Obviously, Dale has been on iRacing for a pretty long time, and as I was growing up and he realized that I was taking racing pretty seriously, he would mention here and there that they needed to get me set up on iRacing,” noted Elledge. “Finally, I got my own (gaming) computer, and Steve (Myers, iRacing’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer) was great in helping me to get a membership and everything that I needed to be ready and to be a part of it.
“I’m going to be honest, I’m not the greatest at iRacing … so for me it has been more about getting on the track and just making laps, learning visual cues and things like that,” Elledge laughed. “For a while I couldn’t even make two laps on the sim at the Chili Bowl, but it’s been a great teaching tool for myself and for a lot of drivers and I’m proud to have them onboard with us this weekend.”
More than anything, Elledge is ready to put her recent NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series memories behind her and make some positive magic this weekend at Kokomo, after her recent flip during the Shamrock Classic at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin.
“I’m still a little bit nervous after what happened, because you never like to tear up race cars and bump your head like I did, but I’m ready to get after it again,” Elledge said. “I’m ready to go into a summer full of racing and have a lot of fun, because this is when the USAC season really starts picking up again.
“The last time we raced was a whole month ago, so I’ve been sitting here waiting on it and this weekend is finally the time we get to go out and try for better results again. That’s comforting for me.”