On Track: Earsplitter Expo Center track Review
In edition of On Track, we’ll take a look at Windy City Racing’s new .20 indoor bullring Earsplitter Expo Center. The Expo seems to be modeled after the numerous indoor tracks around the country that host quarter midgets, and midget racing like the Chili Bowl except the expo is paved (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a2dBdz0Xbc&feature=PlayList&p=5E46D3C7F5FC263B&playnext=1&index=1). For those of you who have never seen a .2 mile oval, it’s small, really small. Imagine that old track you ran the mile on in high school except even smaller and you get the expo. (
Check out my video review here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUx64KVYOBk )
The Expo has zero banking, and if you’re not careful you’ll get lost leaving pit road. The on track experience is pretty cool. The setups are well developed and once you get going it’s actually really fun. The track seems to have really high grip settings so coming around turns, the car tends to tricycle. Meaning the left front lefts right up off the track and you’ll find yourself heading straight to the tire wall. Yep, that’s right, the track has no retaining wall, just tires on the outside of the two straights. This is very realistic compared to real indoor tracks, but it’s also a real nuisance when you overshoot the corner exit and find yourself stuck in the wall. But thanks to nearly endless options in racing grooves, that can avoided with practice. You can run almost anywhere on this track and be somewhat competitive. Having trouble passing that lap car in front of you, try diving in on entry and going wide on exit, or go wide on entry and cut to the inside on exit. You can even run the outside to some success. I had a lot of fun drifting through the turns and using absolute no brake, only spinning tires to slow me down. Of course the best method is the infamous “bump and run”, rubbin’s racin’ afterall.
The AI is surprisingly coordinated for such a small track. They generally don’t spin out or wreck on their own during a race. They’ll even go three wide at times. However there is one exception. The AI is unable to exit pit road. They drive straight into the tire barrier and forced back to the pits. This means practicing with cars is impossible as are races with pit stops. The graphics are stunning, but that is too being expected from Windy City. The track doesn’t come off as cheesy and hacked as most indoor tracks do. It really looks like a true indoor track. But the track is a beta and it shows occasionally. Outside turns 1 & 2 there are invisible barriers that will destroy your car if you hit them, I expect this will be fixed in the next version though. Also the high grip means you’ll occasionally flip your car just by turning.
The Expo is a high quality track, but don’t forget it’s only .2 miles. Racing gets tedious, you will crash, you will take damage and you might make it 99 out 100 laps only to get wedged in the tire wall on the white flag. If you’re favorite cup track is Bristol or Martinsville then you’ll problem love this track as much as I do, but if not then you’ll want to save your disk space for a larger oval or road course instead. I give the Expo an 8.5/10.
Windy City Racing has a ton of tracks, with some truly astounding graphics, these guys are pushing the boundaries of nr2003 and doing unthinkable things, you should definitely check ‘em out regardless. (http://home.comcast.net/~sticky66/tracks.htm)
Watch my video of the Expo on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUx64KVYOBk
Get the track here: http://www.hdoml.com/files/earsplitter.html