Landon Cassill has partnered with Parker Kligerman to promote the Firecracker 400 on iRacing following his Qualifying Challenge.
The Firecracker 400 will utilize the recently released 1987 NASCAR Chevrolet Monte Carlo and 1987 NASCAR Ford Thunderbird. The race itself will take place at the pre-repave 2007 ‘Legacy’ Daytona International Speedway. The Firecracker 400 is open for registration, the link for which can be found here. It is $25 to enter with a $10,000 purse.
Cassill explained that the idea was borne out of the success of his Qualifying Challenge:
“Well, it really came from originally the hosting of the Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge. Seeing what great energy there is around these, we launched independent iRacing events. We learned a lot from the broadcast to be able to do this and some of the other stuff on iRacing that we’ve done in the last couple of months.
“We kind of had the vision together of creating large events on iRacing, as opposed to hosting a league or something like that. There you’re kind of trying to start a storyline and start over every single week and capture an audience every single week. We felt like we could put on big events, big prize purses and let them sort of drag on over the course of a couple of weeks to build interest, excitement, the racers and storylines and hopefully create star power out of some of these iRacers.”
In addition to using laser-scanned 1987 cars, Cassill and Kligerman divided the Firecracker 400 into multiple events over the course of three weeks. The first part of those events are six heat races. Three of the heat races will be on June 18 and the other three on June 19 will be held with the top 84 finishers, 14 from each race, advancing to qualifying.
Keeping the authentic 1980s NASCAR tradition, two days of qualifying will take place June 24 and 25. In first round qualifying, the top-20 will advance to the Firecracker 400 on July 1. Second round qualifying will determine positions 21-43. The other 41 entries will participate in the consolation ‘Busch’ race, the Firecracker 200 on June 29.
The Firecracker 400 and 200 will utilize similar rules to that of their real-life predecessors. The races will have single-file restarts with lapped cars to the inside, no free pass or wave arounds. The main events will have no quick repairs.
“The first stage of the event will be fixed setups,” explained Cassill. “It’ll be a little bit more enticing to all of the competitors to not have to focus on the cars, but more focused on just getting through that race, keeping it in one piece. There will be one reset in that race. That stage is a little bit more inviting and then once they go to the qualifying aspects, the first, second round qualifying, it’s going to be open setup.”
While the playing field will be even in the preliminary heat races, the stars will shine thru. In qualifying and the main events, the setups will be open to adjustments. This provides options to the field as to whether they want low downforce or high downforce, speed or handling, among other factors. Beginners in the setup adjusting world won’t need to fret as Cassill and Kligerman will provide starter setups.
The Shepherd Racing Ventures driver explained where he and Kligerman learned this formula:
“We will provide the community, those 84 drivers with some good starting setups to help them out with some speed. Ultimately that is one of the exciting parts of the type of event that Parker and I have learned. Through events like the Fake 500 that we competed in a few weeks ago, when you have a car, like the iRacing 87 car and a track like Daytona, the racing is so much better when there’s open setup.
“Some people can really trim their car out, lay the spoiler back. Other people can play more conservative, put the spoiler up for downforce. The racing can get really interesting and a lot of fun. We definitely wanted to have that for the Firecracker.
“We’re okay with fixed setup for the prelim nights. It’s inviting for the ‘regular Joes’ or anybody out there that wants to take the shot at making the field. Once you get that far to make the field, we want you to spend a little bit of time on the setup, and find some time in it and see what you got.”
Cassill and Kligerman are expecting at least 258 entries. The field will not be exclusive to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series or eNASCAR iRacing Road to Pro regulars. In Cassill’s Qualifying Challenge, teenager Eddie Kerner pulled off the upset, out qualifying Donovan Strauss by 0.001 seconds and walked away with the $10,000 prize. The qualifying challenge took place at the virtual Darlington Raceway.
Both of the promoters of the Firecracker 400 competed in the Monday Night Racing league presented by Kickin’ the Tires. The league, created by Ford Martin and Paul Sutton, the duo announced the Firecracker 400 while streaming the race. They streamed the race on their respective Twitch channels. Kligerman won his third-consecutive Monday Night Racing event at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway.