Timmy Hill wins NASCAR iRacing at Texas, but will virtual paybacks be like on-track paybacks?

Timmy Hill knows just like in reality, the rule of driver etiquette is to race a driver as that driver has raced you. So he knows he probably has one (at least) coming from William Byron.

But Hill has a virtual trophy, and for a driver who has driven for primarily underfunded teams throughout his career, you can’t take that away from him (even if there is no real trophy).

Hill performed what is known as a bump-and-run on Byron late in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race Sunday at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway and then hung on for the victory in the nationally televised event. He nudged Byron enough to force Byron to lose position but not cause Byron to crash.

“It was a situation where I don’t get the chance to win on this big of a platform,” said the 27-year-old Hill, the 2011 NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year. “I always told myself if I had a chance to win any type of race — NASCAR, short-track level — when it came down to it, that’s what I would do.

“It didn’t change because it was iRacing. That is what I would do in real life.”

Hill drives for team owner Carl Long, in cars often several years old and with engines often down in horsepower, so he rarely gets to race Byron, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, on a weekly basis in the cars on the race track.

Both Hill and Byron have extensive iRacing experience, as this was Hill’s 674th win in the series — drivers can run several races a day and Hill at one point was the top-ranked iRacing driver on ovals in the mid-2010s.

And now? Hill knows what to expect.

“I’ll probably get a lot of abuse going forward, and I’ll have to accept that,” Hill said. “But that’s in the future. I’m living in the present, and I’m happy to get the win.”

Byron didn’t seem too upset, maybe knowing he will get an opportunity to win and, if need be, will be able to get Hill back. The move appeared to be fairly clean by actual racing standards and apparently acceptable in iRacing as well.

“He just kind of used me up there in [Turns] 1 and 2,” Byron said. “The draft is so big in 3 and 4, you’re wide open, so he just has a huge run. I was just hoping to kind of force him to pass me around the outside or get a run off of [Turn] 2.

“He just drove through me. So I’ll just remember that for next week.”

Hill said he didn’t have many options when Byron threw a block at that moment — he could either lift and hope he didn’t get hit by the driver behind him or he could do the bump-and-run.

“My mindset at a make a quick split-second decision is to go for the win,” Hill said.

Rivalry! Rivalry! Okay, maybe that is getting too excited and hyping it a little much. But, frankly, that’s part of what makes racing fun — seeing which driver is upset from a past incident and whether anything happens the following week.

Part of the chatter about simulated racing is it is as close to the real thing as any sport can get. Guess the real world will find that out in the upcoming weeks if Byron roughs up Hill.

“It’s definitely worth it,” Hill said. “The amount of outreach and the amount of people who watch this race and have reached out to me and my sponsors, it’s well-deserved.

“I’d do it 100 times over.”