Latest NASCAR 21: Ignition update adds stages, developers answer fans

Justin Melillo
Stage racing in latest NASCAR 21: Ignition update, developers answer fans

Following a roadmap of future updates earlier this month, NASCAR 21: Ignition has received a version update today (25th January) for PC, PlayStation and Xbox that adds several much-requested features.

In addition, the Motorsport Games development team recently answered questions posed by the community about development updates and further plans.


While stage racing existed in some fashion, mainly in career mode when simulating race weekends, the ability to actually stage race per the NASCAR rule book in a race setting was lost in the completion of the game. Now in the patch, stage racing exists and works mostly as it should.

Users have to set the race distance to at least 15 percent, and NASCAR Rules need to be turned on. The laps in between stages do not count, which is honestly what I wished NASCAR did in real life, but as it stands, is not truly accurate. Otherwise, the game should award the stage and playoff points as normal. Once the stage standings are shown, players are given the option to pit if they desire.

Private parties have also been instituted into the latest build. In short, the same multiplayer hopper system is still in play, but now a group of six to 18 friends can get together and race the hopper independently from other random drivers that might ruin the fun.

The roadmap for NASCAR 21: Ignition states the next big items on the menu include a NASCAR NEXT Gen testing mode and a settings toggle for shaky cams, so that’s what’s in store in February.


There were a few other added items to the game as well. One of the big ones included course cutting penalties. When NASCAR rules are implemented, “players who gain an advantage by cutting a corner will now have the full lap invalidated” per the patch notes. This will be in place both offline and online.

Not really a fix, but an addition to the game in this patch was NASCAR Cup Series one-off driver Matt Mills. Mills drove for the sister team to Live Fast Motorsports, BJ McLeod’s own BJ McLeod Racing. The No. 55 that Mills drove raced once in 2021, at Kansas Speedway in May, the Buschy McBusch Race 400. After starting 39th, Mills completed all but 12 laps and finished in 38th place.

For online multiplayer, a brief moment of AI control before taking the green flag has been added to prevent immediate incidents as the races begin. It’s, well, not perfect, but it did work better than the previous method in my personal testing. The cars may still swerve as they are controlled by the computer, depending on the track you race at.

Other fixes and improvements were also included this month. The full changelog is listed at the bottom of this article.


Recently, the team behind NASCAR 21: Ignition reached out to the community and asked for questions regarding the title. In a 22-minute video released by Motorsport Games on Monday, CEO Dmitry Kozko, Director of Design Paul Coleman and Brand Manager Jay Pennell answered some of the community’s questions surrounding what’s still in store for NASCAR 21 and what might come in future titles.

“We recognize that our launch of NASCAR 21: Ignition didn’t meet some of your expectations and as you guessed, it didn’t meet some of ours either,” explained Kozko.

When the game launched, the lack of a rear-view mirror was one of the first things that players noticed.

“We had originally planned NASCAR 21: Ignition to be a next-gen [console] only release but through the development… we recognized that the majority of our community would be remaining on the previous generation of consoles,” explained Coleman.

“We then took the decision to scale back the project to run on these earlier machines and that’s why we had to make this comprise [no mirrors]. That’s why you’ll see players on PC do have the rear-view mirror, and I’m hopeful with our next gen upgrade that is coming later this year we may be able to reintroduce mirrors.”

It’s also revealed that NASCAR 21: Ignition will have continued support through the first half of this current year and for now, future games in the series will continue to release on previous generation consoles. The next DLC pack arrives on Thursday 27th January, featuring the fourth NASCAR legend, Bobby Labonte.


During the discussion, the team talked about items they would not look at for Ignition but consider for future releases in the series. These included custom car setups, support for h-pattern shift peripherals, post-race celebrations and support categories, all of which or on the table for future titles.

Items such as split-screen multiplayer and a form of challengers were discussed as potential ideas, but not in any great detail.

Specifically, the current visual effects – often touted as ‘motion blur’ – could have a toggle implemented, but Coleman highlighted: “…adding that toggle [to turn off motion blur], which is feasible, might not actually alleviate your concerns, so what we are going to look at is combining all of these [visual] settings together. But it’s something we’d only be able to do in the future.”

One controversial aspect so far is a lack of fuel gauge or tire wear indicator, and it sounds as if that will not be added anytime soon and perhaps saved for newer releases.

“In the real world, there is no tier wear indicator. [However] it is something I think we can do a better job of informing the player about, but we need to be careful about how much of this information we produce on-screen… we want to strike a good balance in the future,” explained the Director of Design.

“Our goals are, on top of the list are really to be authentic, joyful and fun, so not only that we could appeal to the vast majority of the hardcore fans, but also allow that three-year-old to pick up that controller and really have a joyful experience as they enter the NASCAR digital world,” said Kozko towards the end of the Town Hall.

Essentially, while NASCAR 21: Ignition hasn’t lived up to the hype, the goal for Motorsport Games remains, toward the future of the franchise, to appeal to NASCAR fans of all ages and areas of expertise.

Let us know in the comments below what you think of this most recent update, the game’s launch and this developer ‘Town Hall’ session.

Full disclosure – Traxion.GG is part of Motorsport Games and the Motorsport Games family of brands. All Traxion.GG content is editorially removed from Motorsport Games video game development and created by a dedicated team.

NASCAR 21: Ignition update changelog


  • [PlayStation-only] Fixed an issue that prevented Thrustmaster T80 and T284 Wheels from appearing in the supported wheel list
  • [PC-only] Fixed an issue that was causing the Fanatec CSL Elite to have inverted pedals


  • Added Matt Mills to the driver roster


  • [PC-only] Fixed an issue that was causing the game to crash when receiving a notification from another application


  • Fixed an issue that could cause AI to trigger endless yellow flags by not pitting correctly
  • Fixed an issue that could prevent AI drivers from pitting after successive cautions


  • Fixed an issue that was causing temperatures to be reported in Fahrenheit when set to metric
  • Fixed an issue that would prevent a message from being displayed when the controller became disconnected
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the fuel light to incorrectly turn on after a caution
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the fuel light to remain on after refueling
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the cockpit lap counter to not increase
  • Fixed the Grill Tape HUD option so that it increases when navigating right and decreases by navigating left
  • Removed the redundant crown icons from online lobbies


  • Added Stages. They can be enabled in the settings for both Career and Race Now. Note: Yellow flag laps under stages do not count into the next stage
  • Implemented corner cutting penalties for both online and offline play (note: only available in offline play when Rules are enabled). Players who gain an advantage by cutting a corner will now have the full lap invalidated
  • Fixed an issue that was preventing the relative leaderboard from being correctly updated after a caution
  • Fixed an issue that could cause players to be stuck in the garage after disqualification


  • Fixed an issue that could cause the player car to be damaged at the start of a Practice session


  • Fixed an issue that could prevent career contracts from being offered to the player in some circumstances
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the qualifying order for a career race to be lost


  • Added Private Party sessions for online play. It is now possible to enter online sessions with only your friends. Minimum Party size is 6 players, maximum is currently set to 18 players
  • Added brief period of AI control at the start of online races to mitigate instances of players swerving at the beginning of a race and causing collisions
  • Fixed an issue that was preventing players from rejoining their friends after a disconnection


  • Fixed an issue that could cause visual artifacts to appear in the shadow at the rear of the player car


  • [PC-only] Fixed an issue that could cause the game to crash after repeatedly changing the resolution
  • Fixed an issue that was causing duplicate inputs to be recorded on some menus
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the camera to pan around while navigating the Pause Menu

Source: NASCAR 21: Ignition support website

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