Garrett Lowe pulled off his own version of “The Double” on Tuesday when he raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two different series.
Normally, “The Double” is when a driver competes in the NASCAR Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 and the NTT IndyCar Series’ Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day. Lowe, on the other hand, was a part of the U.S. Legend Cars International’s Summer Shootout at the real Charlotte Motor Speedway and then the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ Round 9 at virtual Indianapolis later in the evening.
“Come to think of it, I never thought about that being an option, tying it into the real world with the Coke 600 and the Indy 500,” Lowe told NASCAR.com. “But that’s actually even cooler for me to think about it like that. That’s cool not only from the real world and the virtual world standpoint, but to go from Charlotte in a Legend car to Indy in a Cup car, that’s pretty big. It was a lot of fun.”
And it was a big success.
Lowe finished third in the Summer Shootout race and then fourth in the Coca-Cola iRacing Series event. With completely different teams, too. His Legends car was with Stillwell Racing, and his iRacing car was with Wood Brothers Racing.
“Logistical planning took forever,” Lowe said. “I think me and my parents spent a total of about a week. We talked about it every day. We’d sit down and ask, ‘What’s the game plan now?’ Any time we got a schedule update or anything, it was, ‘OK, what do we have to change to accommodate this?’ ”
Lowe actually moved his iRacing simulator from his home, which is about 45 minutes from the Charlotte track, to a fellow Stillwell Racing member’s house in surrounding Concord, North Carolina. He even borrowed a wheel and pedals from another Legends driver.
All that prep ended up paying off more than Lowe could have imagined since the start of his Summer Shootout race was delayed due to weather. It was supposed to begin around 6 p.m. ET but pushed closer to 7:15 p.m. ET. He remembers it being 7:50 p.m. ET when all done. Lowe had a minor time buffer then before the Coca-Cola iRacing Series race went live at 9 p.m. ET.
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“Once we got rolling, I was pretty confident we were going to be fine,” Lowe said. “The stressful part was making sure I got everything good to go once I got back. But I was rather, I guess, calm more than I expected to be. I expected to be a little hyped after running a 25-lap race.”
It took Lowe a couple minutes to get acclimated to his simulator again, having just been in a real car. He had 10 minutes to run a couple qualifying laps before the real deal. Then, it was race No. 2 time.
“As far as the experience goes,” Lowe said, “it was little stressful and a little crazy.”
Must have been worth it, though, considering Lowe is already mentally prepared to try to work double duty again.
The Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ next race is July 14. There will be no overlap then. But on July 28, when the Coca-Cola iRacing Series takes on virtual Michigan International Speedway, there’s another Summer Shootout race.
“I’m really competitive at both, and I’m committed to running both,” Lowe said. “So, if we can do both, we’re going to make it happen.”