EA Sports sends NASCAR 2005 to retail

New racing game gets giant send-off as game represents first time franchise has been optimized for Xbox Live.

Electronic Arts has taken EA Sports' NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup to retail. Featuring modified vehicles as well as a variety of production cars such as the Chevrolet C5 Corvette and Ford GT, the game will feature online play on the PlayStation 2 and, for the first time, on Xbox Live.

A new career mode called "fight to the top" sees the player rise up through the ranks of the lower-level competitions (NASCAR Featherlite Modified, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, and NASCAR Busch Series) before competing for the Cup. An all-new intimidator button will allow players to psyche out their rivals on the track, and postrace confrontations might lead to street races to settle disputes. Online races will allow up to four players at once.

The game's title reflects the gameplay changes that will, for the first time, offer players the chance to compete in the "chase for the cup," the last 10 races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, which determine each year's NASCAR champion. After the first 26 races, the top 10 drivers and all those within 400 points of the leader move on to the championship races, where points are reset to keep the races exciting and interesting.

NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup will be available on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube this week. The GameCube version will retail for $39.95 and the other versions for $49.95. A separate, additional NASCAR game is currently in development at EA and will ship early next year.

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