Anthony Alfredo has enjoyed a successful run in the eNASCAR Saturday Night Thunder iRacing Series and is now getting ready to get back on track in the real world at Darlington Raceway.
The driver known as "Fast Pasta" has posted three eNASCAR top 10s, including a win last weekend at virtual Dover International Speedway. This week the race shifts to Friday at virtual Martinsville Speedway. After that, the focus will turn to the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ return to racing.
The May 19 Darlington race will mark Alfredo’s second Xfinity start for Richard Childress Racing. He will utilize the same tool to prepare for the race he’s been using since racing was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I always hop on iRacing before a race and at the very least it’s a great visual," Alfredo told MRN. "I’m fortunate to have a SIM seats driving simulator in my apartment and that’s very realistic because as far as the way I sit ergonomically. It allows me to take full advantage of what iRacing has to offer because I feel like I’m in the race car and it looks like I’m in the race car and that really helps me get comfortable. So I’m looking forward to doing that to help prep for because that’s another track I’ve never been to.
"I do know it’s arguably the most challenging track on the circuit. It’s not going to be easy but I have the right people around me and the right equipment."
Back on Feb. 29, Alfredo made his first series start at Auto Club Speedway and finished sixth.
"It was definitely a successful weekend to say the very least," Alfredo said. "I exceeded a lot of expectations including my own. We went into that weekend knowing that a top 10 at a race track as difficult as Auto Club Speedway in my first time in the NASCAR Xfinity series car would be a challenge but a top 10 would have been a win for us."
Heading into the season, Alfredo was slated to compete in 17 Xfinity races.
"Hopefully it will not shift around too much," Alfredo said about his schedule. "Our plans are to go to all the same tracks. It’s just we don’t know when really right now.
"I’ve got Darlington and after that the schedule says Charlotte."
A big advocate for eSports and gaming, Alfredo has enjoyed his time this past month competing in a number of races each week leading up to Saturday Night Thunder. Alfredo’s passion for online gaming first came with the Call of Duty series of titles, which led to him becoming a fan of the FaZe Clan eSports organization. For Alfredo’s first Xfinity start, the FaZe Clan were on the lower quarter panel of his No. 21 Chevrolet and they continued to collaborate during the break from racing.
"We’ve been doing some fun things together," Alfredo said. "I actually played in a charity tournament they had four weeks in a row helping raise money for coronavirus relief. That was really cool and working with them has been really fun on the gaming side of things."
Although he’s been online gaming since a young age, Alfredo really didn’t get heavily involved in the competition aspect of iRacing until last season when he competed part-time in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.
"I discovered iRacing when I got into racing because the eSports industry and gaming in general is something that I’ve always been pretty passionate about," Alfredo said. "I think I created my account maybe in 2016, but the funny thing is I only ran one race between then and 2018. Originally I was kind of using it to test before going in to new tracks and then I’ve just really enjoyed racing with other people."
Alfredo has expanded his eSports footprint with his own eSports Racing League (@ERLracing) and Twitch channel (Fast_Pasta).
"This is our inaugural season, but we also race in Monday nights in the Xfinity cars," Alfredo said. "It’s been a lot of fun to grow. I think some people actually watch them to learn because I have a pedal cam and you can see my feet you can see me driving. Sometimes I’m not the best one to watch, I guess Dover is a good one if someone wants to watch and learn some things."
The race this past Monday was a good practice for Friday night’s event at virtual Martinsville.
"We had an 85-lap race," Alfredo said. "I learned some things and we had a custom setup that’s a little bit different than will be running Friday night. So I’ll have to kind of adjust for that a little bit but it’s going to be a tense for sure. It’s just a races just like it does in real life. It’s you know beating and banging and classic short track racing so I think it’ll be a fun one for the fans. It’s going to be tough for the drivers. That’s for sure. But I’m looking forward to it."
See Also: iRacing Entry Lists
Some of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers compete in the ERL races, including Jimmy Mullis and Zack Novak who have been instrumental on helping Alfredo when it comes to iRacing.
"I’ve learned way more about iRacing from them and they’re really great at Martinsville," Alfredo said. "I think that they’re going to help me a lot. Hopefully we can continue this string of competing for wins every week and maybe carry the momentum from this win into another one."