Forza’s NASCAR World Tour Expansion: The chance to answer your favorite ‘what if?’

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Dan Greenawalt had an itch he needed to scratch.

Despite having never attended a NASCAR race in his life, the Creative Director of Turn 10 Studios wanted to drive a NASCAR stock car around Watkins Glen International.

“It’s one of the NASCAR races I love watching because you mix it up so much,” Greenawalt told NBC Sports in a phone interview. “It’s just fun, it’s a great track. It’s got so much heritage, it’s one of those tracks that I love to drive classic cars on, in general. It flows really well, it’s got the heritage, it’s got a lot of different type of surfaces on it and really interesting camber from one corner to the next.”

Greenawalt doesn’t know WGI from first-hand experience. He’s describing it based on his experience from driving on the road course while developing NASCAR World Tour, the latest expansion pack for Forza Motorsports 6, which is available today on the XBox One.

“I feel like any car I jump into, the physics of the game really speak to me, because I know the track well and the track is an incredible trial,” Greenawalt said.

Greenawalt is one of the minds behind Microsoft’s Forza Motorsports 6 video game, the latest entry in the series that began in 2005 on XBox. While the above scene at WGI seems like one you could experience in any of the NASCAR simulator games that has been released over the last two decades, it’s just the surface of the many “What If?” itches one can scratch.

The expansion, which features 10 hours of additional content to the original, adds 24 Sprint Cup cars among 16 drivers and Homestead-Miami Speedway to the already existing NASCAR-sanctioned tracks on the game. The 24 cars represent Joe Gibbs Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and Team Penske.

With those 24 cars you could run at Watkins Glen. But you could also do it in the rain, something that’s never been done in real life in the series.

Have you ever wondered how a stock car would handle “The Corkscrew” at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? Of course you have.

Does the thought of a stock car navigating the street course of the Grand Prix of Long Beach keep you up at night? Do your eyes glaze over when you think about Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Kevin Harvick jockeying for position at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom against V8 Supercars or an IndyCar?

Forza Motorsports 6 gives you that possibility now.

“I was racing in the rain on Silverstone and it’s such a fish out of water (experience) in a sense, but as a driver you feel like you’re incredibly challenged to take these cars, they’re so powerful, they’re so raw,” Greenawalt said. “Silverstone has such tradition with proper racing etiquette and you think of a lot of the open-wheel stuff with F1 and to go in there … and really mixing it up in the rain, when I first did that it was with a whole field of NASCAR (cars) and it just felt like a muddy, ballroom brawl.”

That brawl and your other NASCAR-related fantasies are made possible only through the cooperation of NASCAR itself its licensing division, where Blake Davidson works as a vice president.

Davidson has been with NASCAR for going on 21 years and has been working on licensed games since “NASCAR Racing” in 1994, a PC game produced by Papyrus.

“One of the challenges that we’ve always had is that it’s really difficult to experience NASCAR yourself,” Davidson told NBC Sports in phone interview. “It’s not like stick-and-ball sports where you can go out and play those sports. It’s completely different.

“Outside of a driving school, it’s the best way we can allow fans to race and experience the sport.”

The sport has to be turned into a video game someway. Greenawalt breaks it down into three components – Physics, graphics and audio.

Audio – “We tend to use Dynos, which means we put the cars on a rolling road or a dynamometer (a device for measuring force, torque, or power). We put different microphones all around the car – the intake, the exhaust, near the engine. We try to isolate the sounds so we can remix them in real-time and on the fly while the cars are driving.”

Graphics – “We’ve used a lot of different techniques. With an older car, we might laser scan it. But with a NASCAR in particular, we get CAD data, so it’s polygonal design data that’s given to us. From that data, we’re able to then photograph the cars, videotape the cars, manipulate that date to get a very accurate representation … we have to go on-site, put our hands on the car to make the CAD data really come to life in our engine.”

Says Davidson, “Microsoft and their designers, they want to be authentic in everything that they’re doing. Sometimes that makes the teams a little bit nervous. They love to take pictures of everything and scan the cars and have everything captured perfectly in the game and they get pretty darn close, but there are certainly things teams are sensitive about.”

Physics – “We’ve got thousands of data points, for every single car. We recreate them in real-time. So we measure things like the weight of the driveline, inertia. Different components like the flywheel, the engine. The unsprung mass of the suspension architecture, the brakes the wheels and tires. We measure all those components and put them into the game. What’s really unique about NASCAR in particular was the aerodynamics. We had a separate team go and start really looking into how aerodynamics is done at that level. Those cars, they’re not symmetrical, so one side is different from the other on an oval setup. That’s very atypical of the cars in our game.”

When all of that comes together, after a few years of work, you can scratch your own NASCAR itch.

Xfinity Series playoff standings entering first round

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The Xfinity Series playoffs begin this weekend with a 12-driver field set to compete for the championship.

The playoffs start Saturday night with a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric start the postseason tied after they each earned 50 playoff points during the regular season.

More: Las Vegas entry lists

The last four drivers in the standings are Ryan Sieg (2,002 points), Michael Annett (2,002), Riley Herbst (2,001) and Brandon Brown (2,000).

Here are the full playoff standings entering the Round of 12.


Cup playoff standings entering Round of 12

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The Round of 12 in the Cup playoffs has arrived following Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Eliminated from contention were Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney, Cole Custer and William Byron.

The second round begins Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

More: Entry lists for Las Vegas

Kurt Busch begins the round last in the standings with 3,0001 points.

Here is the full playoff standings entering the Round of 12.

Drivers in yellow are those who will compete in the Round of 12. Drivers in red were eliminated at the end of the first round.

Cup playoff standings


NASCAR entry lists for Las Vegas

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The Round of 12 begins this weekend for the Cup Series and NASCAR’s entry lists for Las Vegas Motor Speedway are out.

All three national series will compete at the 1.5-mile track as the Xfinity Series begins its playoffs and the Truck Series holds its second playoff race.

More: Bristol winners and losers

Here are the preliminary entry lists for Las Vegas:

Cup – South Point 400 (7 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered for the first race of the Round of 12.

Joey Logano won at Las Vegas in the spring over Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. This race was won last season by Martin Truex Jr. over Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.

Click here for the Cup entry list.


Xfinity – Alsco 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-four cars are entered in the Xfinity playoff opener.

Daniel Hemric is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Austin Hill is entered in Hattori Racing Enterprises’ No. 61 Toyota.

Chase Briscoe won at Las Vegas in February over Austin Cindric and Ryan Sieg. This race was won last year by Tyler Reddick over Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones.

Click here for the Xfinity entry list.


Trucks – World of Westgate 200 (9 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Thirty-six trucks are entered.

Ryan Truex is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

IndyCar driver Conor Daly will make his Truck Series debut in Niece Motorsports’ No. 42 Chevrolet.

Travis Pastrana is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 45 Chevrolet for his second start of the season.

Kyle Busch won at Las Vegas in February over Johnny Sauter and Austin Hill. Austin Hill won this race last year over Ross Chastain and Christian Eckes.

Click here for the Truck entry list

NASCAR 2020 schedule: Times, TV channels, stream info and tracks for Cup series

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The second round of the NASCAR 2020 Cup series playoffs will begin on Sunday, September 27 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

William ByronCole CusterMatt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney saw their championship hopes end last Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway where Kevin Harvick stole the show with his ninth win of the season. Harvick’s victory at Bristol marked a career-best milestone as his previous best was eight wins back in 2018.

Click here to see the NASCAR entry lists for Las Vegas 

    RELATED: Bristol Cup results, driver points report

NASCAR 2020 Schedule Playoffs – Round of 12

Sept. 27 – South Point 400

Time: 7 p.m.
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Oct. 4 – YellaWood 500

Time: 2 p.m.
Track: Talladega Superspeedway

Oct. 11 – Bank of America Roval 400

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL

Playoffs – Round of 8

Oct. 18 – Hollywood Casino 400

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Track: Kansas Speedway, 2:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 – Texas 500

Time: 3 p.m.
Track: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 1 – Xfinity 500

Time: 2 p.m.
Track: Martinsville Speedway

Championship – Round of 4

Nov. 8 – NASCAR Cup Series Championship

Time: 3 p.m.
Track: Phoenix Raceway


Daytona 500

Date: Feb. 17
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Pennzoil 500 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Date: Feb. 23
Winner: Joey Logano (video)

Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

Date: March 1
Winner: Alex Bowman

FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Date: March 8
Winner: Joey Logano (video)

The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway

Date: May 17
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway

Date: May 20
Winner: Denny Hamlin (video)

Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Date: May 24
Winner: Brad Keselowski

Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Date: May 28
Winner: Chase Elliott  (video)

Supermarket Heroes 500 – at Bristol Motor Speedway

Date: May 31
Winner: Brad Keselowski

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Date: June 7
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway

Date: June 10
Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (video)

Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Date: June 14
Winner: Denny Hamlin (video)

Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

Date: June 22
Winner: Ryan Blaney

Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway

Date: June 27
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Pocono 350 at Pocono Raceway

Date: June 28
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Date: July 5
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Date: July 12
Winner: Cole Custer

NASCAR All-Star Race

Date: July 15
Winner: Chase Elliott

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Date: July 19
Winner: Austin Dillon

Super Start Batteries 400

Date: July 23
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

Date: Aug. 2:
Winner: Brad Keselowski

FireKeepers Casino 400

Date: Aug. 8
Kevin Harvick

Consumers Energy 400

Date: Aug. 9
Kevin Harvick

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Daytona Road Course

Date: Aug. 16
Chase Elliott

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Dover

Race 1

Date: Aug 22
Denny Hamlin

Race 2

Date: Aug. 23
Kevin Harvick

Coke Zero Sugar 400

Date: Aug. 29
William Byron

Playoffs – Round of 16

Date: Sept. 6 
Kevin Harvick

Date: Sept. 12
Brad Keselowski

Date: Sept. 19
Kevin Harvick

For more on the NASCAR 2020 schedule, news and information, read NASCAR Talk