“This is fun,” Andrew Helms said as he raced the Talladega Superspeedway track in the Coca-Cola 5-Seat Racing Simulator at the Pell City Walmart Friday.
Two seats down, Andrew’s twin sister, Cheyenne, struggled to keep her car in the lanes.
“This is harder than it looks,” she said. “I’ve been crashing a lot.”
Fourteen-year-old Dillan Helms didn’t fare much better in the simulator between the twins.
“I did this last year and was in the back, and this year I’m 16 out of 16,” he said. “I have NASCAR 08 at home and I’m better at it. It is a lot different being in a simulator and using a steering wheel.”
Cheyenne looked over as the two boys finished racing.
“Hey, we all finished 16th,” she said.
The children’s grandfather, Gary Parker, laughed and said he also finished 16th during his race on the simulator.
“This is the twins’ first year to come, but Dillan has been coming to the races since he was 2,” Parker said.
Parker and his wife, Denise, come to the races from Fyffe with their family each year.
“We have been coming since the track was built in 1969,” he said. “My daddy, Herber ‘Smokey’ Parker, helped build the track.”
Jim Raymer, tour manager with Momentum Worldwide and the Coca-Cola Racing Family said the simulators, which run PS3 NASCAR 2011, are very popular.
He said the simulators are free to the public, and are offered in different locations for four days leading up to the race.
“We usually have about 150 people on average come through,” he said. “This area has been one of our best venues and we will probably have 200-plus people come through and race.”
Russell Butter, with OP5 which was operating the Pepsi Max/Amp Simulator inside the store, said the two-seat simulator was also very popular this week.
“It has been used pretty consistently,” he said. “As soon as one person gets up, another person sits down.”
Jason Callahan and his 11-year-old son, Brad, were racing the Talladega Superspeedway track on the Pepsi Max/Amp Simulator using EA Sports NASCAR 08.
“This is our first time to try out this simulator,” Callahan said. “We are having a bit of trouble.”
Callahan said both simulator controllers were attempting to steer the same vehicle on the screen.
“It’s hard to get it going the right way when Brad is turning the wheel one way and I’m turning it the other,” Callahan said.
After changing the settings to two-player, Callahan and his son raced each other.
“We are finally getting the hang of the simulator,” he said. “I really like this simulator because it is more realistic. The steering wheel is more sensitive.”
Brad agreed. “I like it when it’s sensitive. You can’t do anything when it’s not.”
Callahan said he and Brad hope to attend the race if possible, but for now they would enjoy racing each other.
“It really feels like you are in the car,” he said. “It actually feels like you are racing.”
The event will be held today 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Walmart in Talladega.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.