In the dark days of Spring 2020, many of North America’s short track drivers passed the time by embracing eSports racing formats; racing each other, and those dedicated sim racers who have made a name for themselves in the eMotorsports world. But with the coming of Summer, racing has resumed across much of the land, with many real-world drivers getting back to what they do best.
Up in the State of Maine, one of the top sim racers has decided to follow them to the track with an actual racecar.
Enter, Max Cookson. Cookson is an accomplished iRacing driver who was also one the standout sim racer participants in the Rowdy Energy Super Select Series powered by Speed51, which ran weekly from this past March to May. The Rowdy Energy Super Select Series featured a number of real world Super Late Model stars, where Cookson earned a hotly contested win in a 100-lap sim race on April 25.
Overall, Cookson’s performances across different iRacing leagues have proven profitable. Now, he’s putting that money to doing the real thing, buying a Pro All Stars Series spec Modified to run in PASS competition at his home track of Oxford Plains Speedway.
“I ended up winning a pretty good chunk of change on iRacing, figured we’d go give a shot in real life, and here we are,” Cookson told Speed51. “A bunch of us do the iRacing deal running the Super Late Models and such on there, including the Speed51 series. That’s been a good time, but I’m pumped to get it going for real now.”
While Cookson raced in real life in his youth, the PASS Modified is the first full-size racecar that he has wheeled in competition.
“I’ve raced go-karts from when I was four up until I was 12. I did a season in Legend Cars and then took a few years off.”
Making his debut at Oxford on August 16, Cookson started tail of the 50-lap PASS Modified feature, but made his way forward, even cracking the Top 5, before settling for a satisfying sixth.
“We came here on the Friday before and turned about 150 laps, which was valuable. The race me went very well for the first time out. I made a few mistakes, but fighting for a Top 5 my first day in a real life car, I can’t complain too much.”
Next up is the prestigious Oxford 250 weekend, which will feature a pair of races for the PASS Modifieds on Saturday and Sunday, August 29 and 30, with the Sunday show being a 75-lap special. Cookson is getting support from some of his iRacing connections, including spotter Brandon Wilkinson, who has already served Cookson well in that first race.
“That’s going to be a great time, I got one my friends from iRacing, Brandon Wilkinson, that spotted for me, so we already got some chemistry, which is pretty big for us.”
Despite the early promise, the goal for 250 weekend is still the same, keep the wheels straight, stay on track, and finish in one piece.
“I just want to keep the car clean in the races, be respectful, and just try to come out with the best finish we can get.”
Catch all of the racing at Oxford Plains Speedway from the 47th Oxford 250 weekend right here on Speed51. Click here to order your pay-per-view ticket today.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Sped51 Photo