Cassill has turned laps on the winding, 1.99-mile road course without ever touching the asphalt, using iRacing technology. He has relied heavily on the racing simulation to prepare for his first start in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 and hopes the experience will allow him and the No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper team to hit the ground running.
“(iRacing) really helped me get familiar with the track, said Cassill. “I have a much better idea of what to expect now. I know all of the twists and turns and I have a feel for where my braking and acceleration points will be. There's no substitute for the real thing, but iRacing is pretty close.”
Cassill has yet to make a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on a road course, but he has run three road course races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. His best finish came at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2008, where he started 19th and finished 14th.
After two consecutive DNFs, the No. 83 team rebounded at Michigan last Sunday with a Top-20 performance, starting 32nd and finishing 18th. It was Cassill’s second-best finish at the track, and he said he hopes he and the BK Racing team can keep that momentum rolling this weekend.
"This will be my first start at Sonoma. I'm really excited about it. I've never tested there or raced in any other series there, so this is truly a fresh start for me. I've raced at Montreal, Mexico and Watkins Glen in the Nationwide Series. They're completely different than Sonoma, but I learned some road racing fundamentals that will definitely help out this weekend. A lot of the techniques will apply and come in handy this weekend.”
Cassill said last week’s steady run provided a much-needed morale boost.
"After two rough weeks, Michigan was just what we needed,” he said. “It was great to see our team rebound and have such a good race. Everyone was pumped up and feeling good. It's amazing what a solid finish can do for the morale of the team. I'm really proud of our team and I'm hoping that we keep up the momentum at Sonoma."
Photo Credit: nascarmedia.com