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Split-screen racing, trucks and a dirt track highlight NASCAR’s video game encore

Two more driving series should add depth to the career mode

NASCAR Heat 2, which we previewed here right before E3, returns in September with the “other two” national series in stock-car racing, the Xfinity Series and Camping World Trucks Series. By itself that will add some depth to what was a rather spartan career mode last year. And another feature that should lengthen Heat 2’s replay value is the addition of split-screen racing.

You can get a look at the trucks and the split-screen driving in this developer diary from Monster Games. Studio head Rich Garcia explains that the last-minute implementation of stage-format racing in NASCAR caused quite an emergency in his shop, requiring about 300,000 lines of code to be ditched and rewritten. The good news: It means caution flags can be restored to online racing, another big community request.

The trucks series also means dirt racing comes back to a NASCAR video game for the first time in at least a decade, if not longer. (The last NASCAR game to feature the Camping World Trucks series was EA Sports’ NASCAR 09, and trucks weren’t racing at Eldora until 2011.)

When I tried it out on a pre-alpha build a month ago, the game still had a long way to go to deliver the proper amount of oversteer when sliding around the corners. It looks like they’ve smoothed that out in the video above, and another trailer below showcasing Eldora Speedway, which just had a trucks race on Wednesday. Eldora is one of six new tracks added to the game, mainly to accommodate the two new racing series.

NASCAR Heat 2 also just named its trucks series roster; there are 32 drivers, many of them making their video game debut. That includes Matt Crafton, who won at Eldora on Wednesday night, and series leader Johnny Sauter. The full roster is here.

NASCAR Heat 2 launches Sept. 12 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

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