NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona
|NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona|
PlayStation 2 cover art
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona is a racing simulator developed by Monster Games and published by Infogrames in November 2002 for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. It is the latest in the NASCAR Heat series and the last of the NASCAR-licensed games to be published before EA won exclusive rights to the license. The game cover features the vehicles of NASCAR drivers Brendan Gaughan, the 2002 Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year, and Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 winner.
This was one of the first games that allowed a player to participate in multiple racing series other than the Winston Cup Series. Those divisions are the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series (Dirt), Featherlite Modified Tour, Craftsman Truck Series, and Winston Cup Series.
- Dirt cars have low top speed, high handling, high braking, and average acceleration. These cars are known as "Street Stocks" in the dirt racing world and are well known for sliding though the turns. Max Speed: 102 mph
- Modified cars have moderate top speed, average handling, average braking, but low acceleration. They are very easy to wreck because of their open wheel design. This is actually the oldest class in NASCAR. Max Speed: 160 mph
- Truck Series vehicles have high top speed, average acceleration, low handling, and moderate braking. They are a new type of class introduced in the 90s. Max Speed: 188 mph
- Winston Cup Series cars have very high top speed, moderate acceleration, moderate handling, and high braking. They are the top series and well known because they are the highest class under the NASCAR banner and popular for the high speeds of 190+ that they can hit at the restrictor plate tracks, Daytona and Talladega. Max Speed: 207 mph
There are two different modes the player can select at the start of the game: Career and Free Race. In Career mode, players play as a custom driver and have to start out racing in the dirt series and work their way through the ranks of NASCAR to Winston Cup. In Free Race mode, players can have a "Quick Race" in any division that they please, take on different sets of challenges in "Beat the Heat", or even race their favorite drivers in "Beat the Pro", while racing for points to unlock new cheats that can be used during races along the way. While the game incorporates actual drivers, fantasy drivers are also used in every division to make up for drivers not featured in-game. The mechanisms for career mode were later adopted, albeit in a modified form (Featherlite Modified, Craftsman Truck, National (Busch), and Nextel Cup), into a new gameplay mode named "Fight to the Top" in the EA Sports video game NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup.
Players start career mode playing as a custom driver, and must start their career in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, and work their way up the ranks of NASCAR, in pursuit of the ultimate goal of a Winston Cup Championship, and becoming the greatest driver in NASCAR history. To get to the next level of racing in NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona, the player will have to win the points championship in a league to advance to the next series. For each league, the parts for upgrading their car get more expensive, ranging from $3,000 to almost $2,000,000 in funds. Also, while in career mode, the player will have to sign up 3 employees for the Truck and Cup leagues. The different types are: Chassis Builder, Engine Tuner, and Pit Crew Chief. However the different parts for the cars include Engine, Suspension, Aero, and Exhaust, which in return do not affect the employee attributes to the car but instead the car's performance on track.
Your Office and Garage
In the career mode, the player can switch between their office and garage. Players have a variety of options to choose from in each room.
In the office:
- NASCAR Almanac
- NASCAR News
- Save Game
- Go to Garage
- Race Calendar
In the Garage:
- Career Options
- Parts Catalog [splits into Parts Catalog and Graphing Computer]
- Paint Shop [paint schemes may be modified in the Dirt and Modified leagues, but not in the Truck and Cup leagues]
The engine upgrades of the cars range from $800 to $1,700,000. Each car, though, have different horsepower ratings ranging from 240 hp to near 700 hp.
- Dirt: Original - 240 hp | Maxed - 300 hp
- Modified: Original - 271 hp | Maxed - 350 hp
- Truck: Original - 532 hp | Maxed - 592 hp
- Cup: Original - 590 hp | Maxed - 636 hp
In season mode, players may partake in a full NASCAR season in one of the four racing series, playing as the drive of their choice. The season consists of 10 to 32 races, depending on which series the player chooses to race in. (While in career mode, the player can race up to 60 (or more) events, but not all of them, as there are scheduling conflicts throughout each season and the player must choose which race they would like to participate in, forfeiting the other.)
- Dirt Season: 10 races
- Modified Season: 11 races
- Truck Season: 14 races [now 20 races]
- Winston Cup Season: 32 races [now 36 races]
Beat the Heat
Beat the Heat is a game mode covering all 4 leagues, plus a basics and an advanced section, each with its own set of challenges. Each section (excluding Advanced) has six challenges worth a total of 150 points. (he Advanced section only has four challenges, worth a total of up to 120 points.) Each challenge begins with a video intro with NASCAR analyst Allen Bestwick explaining the situation and circumstances of the challenge, and the goals the player must meet to earn a medal. There is a total of 870 points to collect through 34 challenges, but if the player acquires gold medals in all of the challenges, the point total will go into the 900s.
Beat the Pro
In Beat the Pro, players race one-one-one with their favorite Winston Cup drivers, trying to beat their best lap times from certain tracks. The player competes against a "ghost car" of the Pro's best lap time, and attempts to beat it across the finish line for one lap around the track.