The 2004 NASCAR season got in gear this month with the running of the Daytona 500, so it's a perfect time to take a closer look at NASCAR video gaming.
NASCAR titles have been in short supply, but not because they're unpopular. For a few years there was a glut of NASCAR games on the market - everybody and his brother wanted you to know the pleasures of driving modified stock Fords and Chevrolets in circles. These days, fewer titles are released, because the NASCAR games from Electronic Arts and Infogrames have blown away the rest of the field.
So we decided to dig deep into our archives and give you a complete collection of the best cheats for every NASCAR game released over the past couple of seasons. Buckle up and, like they tell the drivers before every race, go fast, turn left.
NASCAR THUNDER 2004, for Microsoft Xbox and Sony Play Station/PS2 - Drive Kevin Harvick's No. 29 car to a win in the Daytona 500 in season mode and you'll unlock the legendary Dale Earnhardt. You'll also get the Goodwrench car, Goodwrench Plus car, Wrangler car, Silver car, Coke car, Bass Pro Shops car, Oreo car and the Legacy car.
Reach Level 16 in your EA Sports bio and you'll unlock an all-star race. Reach Level 18 and you can drive in the Bud Shootout. (Note: If you have a profile from another EA Sports game saved on your system, you'll unlock the all-star race at Level 10 and the Shootout at Level 12.)
If you want more driver cameos, go to the Create-a-Car mode and enter the name of your driver as Seymore Cameos.
To unlock all sponsors for your created cars, win the Cup in career mode.
Beat all the Rookie Lightning challenges and you'll unlock all of Dale Earnhardt's cars.
If you create a car and enter your name as Extra Drivers, you'll unlock all fantasy drivers. You can also do this by winning three championships in career mode.
To unlock special paint schemes for all regular drivers, win five championships.
To unlock Kitt Paint, win the Cup in career mode.
Win a race on the veteran difficulty setting and you'll unlock a new paint scheme for your driver.
NASCAR DIRT TO DAYTONA, for Nintendo GameCube and PS2 - For mo' money, at the main menu press up, down, left, right, Z, left, left - you'll get 10 grand every time. To unlock the legendary King of NASCAR, Richard Petty, complete all the Beat the Heat challenges (also works for PS2). To unlock everything the easy way for the Cube, at the title screen press Z, Z, up, down, R, R, left, right.
NASCAR THUNDER 2003, for Xbox and PS2 - The "extra drivers" trick works in this one, too. You can also simply enter the names of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt in the Create-a-Car mode to unlock them.
NASCAR HEAT 2002, for Xbox and PS2 - To unlock a hardcore realism mode, on the Box, at the main menu press up, down, left, right, white, up, down. For the PS2, it's up, down, left, right, R1, up, down. Or get a 100-point rating on any track to unlock the realism mode for that track.
To unlock Richard Petty, complete all the Heat challenges with a rating of bronze or higher.
To shoot paintballs when you press the horn, in a single or head-to-head races, for the Xbox press up, down, left, right, white, up, up at the Race Day screen. For the PS2, it's up, down, left, right, R1, up, up.
For mini race cars on the Box only, press up, down, left, right, white, down, up at the main menu.
And to toss tires around on the PS2 only, at the Race Day screen, press up, down, left, right, R1, up, up - once you start racing, press up to throw tires.