''While EA Sports brands such as Madden and Fight Night have found enormous mainstream success in appealing to hard-core and casual fans alike, NASCAR has remained a series that's been somewhat more intimidating to those of us that don't know a thing about gear tuning and just want to drive. NASCAR 09, however, bears numerous features that show EA is trying to do away with the series' "strictly for the hard-core" image. The additions of new driving modes for more casual players, and a collection of challenges for dedicated NASCAR fans add some freshness to this year's iteration, but most will find the on-track experience largely the same.
Upon booting up, you'll immediately be greeted by a live representation of NASCAR's poster boy himself, Jeff Gordon, who will continually give you advice and information on the all the modes and options that the title contains. It's pretty obvious that EA is trying to give the series a more inviting appearance, and this carries through to the two new driving modes available at the onset, Normal and Pro. Normal mode is for gamers looking for a more arcade-like feel and who just want to enjoy the thrill of the race rather than have the constant fear of spinning out while trying to handle more sim-like controls (found in Pro). But even in Normal mode, all of the regular rules of NASCAR are still present, as well as the 40-plus tuning options. The actual control set remains the same for both modes, with the left thumbstick serving as the "wheel," the right and left triggers for acceleration and braking, and finally the X for the vehicle telemetry visor to see a comprehensive head's-up display of your car's status. And yes, the game does support the Xbox 360 racing wheel.''