If there is one business that has boomed in the past two years, it is that of sim racing, with services being shoved into the spotlight during the height of the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020. Since then, there has still been a demand for more content, especially from that of iRacing; keeping their staff busy throughout the year.
This includes Kevin Iannarelli, one of iRacing’s producers who also races the racecars of the real world, particularly Modifieds. The Massachusetts native has maintained a part-time Modified schedule for over a decade, starting in Pro-4 Modifieds, and competing mostly in the Modified Racing Series since 2008.
Last season, MRS made a long-awaited return to Wiscasset Speedway in Maine; where Iannarelli had made previous starts during a stint in the NEMA Lite Midgets. Finishing second last July to eventual 2021 MRS champion Brian Robie, the performance has cemented the 3/8-mile oval as a personal favorite track. He is looking forward to heading back there as MRS heads north to Maine this Saturday night.
“It’s wild in a Midget, that wears you out with g-forces whipping around there, it’s unreal. It’s fun in a Modified, it’s one of my favorite tracks to race at. It’s always fun to go up there, they pack the place. They got the $5 admission, they pack ‘em in there, and the people love it. They’re definitely one of the more enthusiastic crowds that we race in front of,” Iannarelli told Racing America.
Heading back to “Maine’s Fastest Oval,” MRS drivers will have to be up on the wheel more than previous appearances with a 75-lap distance awaiting them this time rather than the 100-lap distance of past years.
“They shortened the race to 75 laps because the first half of the race last year all of us were riding around the first half of the race saving our tires because of how abrasive that place is on Modified tires. We’ll still probably save a little bit, but track position is still key.”
While Iannarelli hasn’t raced his No. 27 Modified as much in 2022, he is getting some additional support that may give him the edge he had been looking for in last year’s trip to Wiscasset.
“With my work schedule, traveling around doing projects and what not, I cut back for this year mostly focusing on MRS. We may add a race or two near the end of the year. But, we should have a good piece. This year I’m working with the Albernaz family with Justin and his grandfather Mike. They’re coming off a second-place with Kyle Bonsignore in the Tri-Track show at Seekonk. They got their stuff together and they’re awesome to work with.”
His day job work with iRacing has been hard, but rewarding with what the company has been able to produce; fresh cars, new race tracks, even having an influence on tracks in real life. The rest of Iannarelli’s focus has been on family, not leaving a ton of time to race around for real.
“Things at iRacing have picked up quite a bit in the last two years, we’ve grown substantially as a company. It’s definitely affected me quite a bit on my real-racing schedule and what not from doing the iRacing projects and then traveling for them, and trying to fit in some real racing. It’s cool to do it, but the time isn’t always there, especially with kids.”
Time short, Iannarelli feels this Saturday might be his best chance at finally tasting victory for the first time in the Modified Racing Series.
“I hope so, we were kind of out to lunch during the day last year in practice and the heat. Then we hit on something during one of the late yellows when we pitted for adjustments, it came alive when we did that. So, we’re going there with that setup and we’ll try build on that during the day, pick up that one extra spot.”