Darrell Wallace, Jr. is more than a sim-racer but a Mario Karter too

A lot is going on in the NASCAR world since the real world has ground to a halt.

The inception of iRacing is for starters. But Darrell Wallace, Jr. and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports crew is taking on a different challenge that hasn’t been as talked about.

The world of Mario Kart is now open and the learning curve may be a bit steeper than iRacing. And that’s not a knock on the simulator system that’s given fans and drivers a reprieve from the dull lives people face during the lockdown.

Mario Kart has been around for years and with it being on Nintendo Switch, Wallace, Jr. and company are going at it hard. First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention more about the challenge.

Per the richardpettymotorsports.com site, it’s a simple enough layout for everyone to understand.


– 6v6 – Two teams of six players will compete for total points. Bubba and RPM crew members will be a team, 6 selected fans will be the second team.
– Private lobby – Our team will set up a private password-protected lobby so that only selected fans with the password will be eligible to join and compete.
– One-hour time limit – Gameplay will be set up to include as many races as possible within 1 hour.
– Points are earned at the end of each race depending on the players’ finishing position. Team points are calculated by combining all team members earned points after the 1 hour period.

So it stands to reason that it’s a bit more different than iRacing. Which is, once again, not a knock on the iRacing platform but Wallace, Jr. learns a lot.

“You definitely learn a lot. It’s funny; it’s like who are we racing against this week? You’ll seem them take a shortcut and it’s like ‘whoa, where did that come from?’,” Wallace, Jr. said enthusiastically by phone. “Or they’ll somehow get to that corner better than you. So, for me, I’m always analyzing the people I’m racing around, how they’re doing this and how they’re doing that. When are they drifting, when are they using their mushrooms, you’re always analyzing. It’s almost unhealthy how much we’re taking a game like Mario Kart into consideration of how to be better at, but hey I’m competitive and I want to win in everything. I don’t care if it’s Mario Kart, iRacing or real life, it’s a racing game that I have a huge passion for.”

Sooner or later though, the world will move past COVID-19 and the talks around the NASCAR world are beginning to speed up about mid-week race possibilities. We know that drivers have a fitness level that is beyond that of a normal athlete.

But it stands to reason that drivers may break down a bit trying to squeeze all rest of the races into whatever months are left to run the season. Wallace, Jr. believes it will wear people out.

“It’s definitely going to be tough on the physical side of things and mental side of things too,” Wallace, Jr. said. “You’re really going to have to position yourself to have the endurance. I’ve definitely been hitting the gym here at the house more than I have in a year or so. We don’t know the exact schedule yet and what’s going to happen, but we have to plan for the most strenuous schedule as possible. Getting the upper body right, getting the cardio right and just making sure we can last. It shouldn’t be a problem; we’ll get that day or two rest in between to gain your stamina, confidence and your physical abilities back. It’ll definitely be tough, but it’ll get myself in shape and that’ll be nice.”

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