21-year-old Wyatt Gooden, a kart-racing veteran but a newcomer to the full-sized racecar scene, picked up his first professional auto racing victory at Mid-Ohio's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Race (Round 5) -- a win he credited to his experience with online, subscription-based racing sim iRacing.com.

Gooden participated in iRacing.com's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup online racing series last year, winning the series to become eligible for the real-world version's selection process. He passed the three-day selection trials, and because of his performance in the online competition, he received a sponsorship for his fees in this season's ten real-world races.

Before Gooden ever sat in a racecar, he put in "countless hours" practicing on iRacing.com's simulation of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup car on the tracks that host seven of the ten races on the real-world series' 2010 schedule. Though he had experience with racing karts at a national level, he says iRacing.com was key in helping him adapt to driving a full-sized racer.

"This is a remarkable accomplishment, really a big deal," says iRacing.com EVP Steve Myers. "It's the first time that someone with no previous experience in racing cars has gone from an online racing competition to the real-world winner's circle -- and in just half a season."

He adds, "Clearly, Wyatt Gooden has a great deal of native talent, as he demonstrated in his kart-racing career and in the iRacing.com Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series last year. But it's very gratifying for us to be part of the development of his real-world career. This should be inspiring to race game enthusiasts who dream about someday being able to follow Wyatt's lead."

The second-place winner and pole-winner of the Mid-Ohio race was Arie Ouimet, who also spends a lot of time practicing with iRacing.com. Unlike Gooden, Ouimet was sponsored by VW Parts & Accessories and not iRacing.com. You can read more about the race and how Gooden's experience with iRacing.com came into play in this press release.