William Byron eSports driver Logan Clampitt admits that he is in the second half of his eNASCAR iRacing Coca-Cola Series after a disappointing start to his 2022 season.
Clampitt, the two-time runner-up in the championship, told RACER that his feelings towards the series have shifted in recent years as he begins to encounter changes in his personal life.
“I feel like my mindset has been different (this season). I’ve got a lot going on in life right now,” Clampitt said.
“I’ve got school, I’m working part-time, I’m back with really good friends in California so I’m out with them quite a bit. I go to the gym five days a week and I’m putting in the (iRacing) practice. I have other responsibilities nowadays, I’m not 15 years old anymore. I’m definitely on the backend of my career and I would like to focus on other things in life.”
His season has been plagued by a mixture of bad luck and mistakes. Six out of his eight races have been hampered by crashes. Clampitt believes some of those crashes are the result of changes to the series format. Shorter races and a more difficult car have placed a premium on track position, leading to more aggressive driving and more incidents.
In addition to format changes, Clampitt has taken issue with the driving style of some newer competitors in the series. He described one of the series’ rookies as having “as much talent as wet toilet paper.”
Halfway through the 2022 eNASCAR season, Clampitt is currently 35th in the standings. If he finishes lower than 20th he will be relegated to the next-lowest rung of the eNASCAR ladder and would have to re-earn his spot in the Coca-Cola Series – something he has never had to do.
Clampitt had previously said that if he was relegated, he would likely call it quits. Nowadays, however, he is not sure. Competing at the highest levels of sim racing has been such a huge part of his life for many years that leaving it behind would be difficult. On the other hand, Clampitt misses the days when he drove on iRacing for fun rather than for work.
“The last time I actually had fun on iRacing, you know… it’s been a long time,” he said. “It’s always just kind of practice, practice, practice for the next Coca-Cola Series race and I never have any free time to do anything else. That’s not necessarily why I joined iRacing in 2013.”
The word “retirement” carries a different meaning in sim racing than it does traditionally. As so many of the top drivers in eNASCAR are in high school and college, their retirement from the series is more often just a transition into adulthood. Nathan Lyon, a former Roush Fenway Racing eNASCAR driver, retired after last season to continue his education and prepare for a more traditional career.
Clampitt will face a similar decision as he nears his own college graduation. If retirement or a break from the series is the route he chooses, Clampitt believes that he will be able to leave with his head still held high.
“If I took a year off and I’m like, ‘Oh, maybe I want to get back into the series,’ but by then I’m going to be graduated from college and I’m going to have a real job and real responsibilities, and financially I won’t need the Coca-Cola series,” he said.
“I’m still young and it’s a decent amount of money to be in the series. I’ve got a pretty decent car that I’m going to keep for years. I’ve got a 2022 KIA K5 that I just bought from my winnings last year and it’s a reliable car. Financially, it’s great to be ahead of most people my age but I’m almost ready for that next step in life.”
When Clampitt looks back on his time with iRacing he finds that past years brought more fun. Finding that enjoyment by turning back the clock and making iRacing the hobby that it started as – rather than the job it has become – might be the best option.
“I kind of just want to have fun with iRacing,” he said. “Sometimes I’d like to just race and have fun with different cars and tracks instead of just practicing (the same) car all the time.”