App roundup: Start your engines…

App roundup: Start your engines…

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With the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season kicking off last weekend and leading up to the 55th running of the Daytona 500 this Sunday, February 24th, I thought this would be a good a time to share some of the apps in the Windows Store related to cars.

NASCAR

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I’ll admit that I’m pretty new to the world of NASCAR. Up until a few years ago, it just didn’t interest me. That all changed when some friends and I joined a NASCAR fantasy league on a fluke (it’s okay, you can laugh). I was a bit skeptical at first, but once I witnessed the excitement on the track, got to know the personalities of the racers, and finished my first season with the thrilling chase for the championship, I was hooked.

Leading up to the big race on Sunday, I’m using the official NASCAR app to get up-to-the-minute news about my favorite NASCAR drivers, keep tabs on breaking stories, and refer to their handy schedule of all of the upcoming races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Top Gear News

Menu in the Top Gear News app

As a big fan of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, I was pretty excited to get the Top Gear News app from the Store. If you’re not familiar with those names, they’re the hosts of the hit BBC series Top Gear, a show dedicated to fueling the passions of “petrol heads” around the world. Watching them banter and bicker while driving some of the world’s most exotic and expensive cars (or in some cases, cars that redefine the term “lemon”) is some of the finest entertainment television has to offer.

Top Gear News takes you behind the scenes of the show and gives you in-depth reviews of some of the coolest cars on earth. Even though the show often features cars that most of us can’t afford, it’s still fun to do a little window shopping with this app— just in case I hit it big in the lottery.

Reckless Racing Ultimate

Game play in Reckless Racing Ultimate

I’ve been playing racing games on different consoles for years, but this is the first time I played one on my Surface, and I must admit, I’m pretty impressed. Chock full of different cars, upgrades, and tracks to unlock, Reckless Racing Ultimate challenged my skills on every lap of the track. Although the title says “reckless,” I had to practice a little control and let off the gas in order to drift through hairpin turns like a pro, find the perfect line, and grab first place.

Sports

Main page of Bing Sports app

In addition to highlighting the big news from the sports world (including NASCAR), if you’re a fan of Formula 1 racing, you can get your fix of top stories from around F1 in the Sports app powered by Bing. Many of you already have this app, since it comes bundled with many new Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs, but I wanted to mention it today because it was recently updated to include NCAA Men’s Basketball, NCAA Football, MotoGP, and 17 soccer leagues from around the world.

Whether you’re a diehard fan of NASCAR or someone who enjoys cars in general, I hope you’ll give some of these apps a look, and let me know what you think. And if you’re not a fan, check out a few laps of the race down in Florida on Sunday. Who knows, you might just discover a new passion.

For more app reviews, check out our new video series, Windows Store Weekly. This week, Laura Foy demos Skulls of the Shogun, Perfect365, eBay, Penguin Almighty, and Tasks by Telerik.

Note: Some apps might not be available in all countries or regions.

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  • Nathan
    63 Posts

    Microsoft, how about a "free" version of Angry Birds and few other known games titles (like Android offers) to challenge the notion "all free games in Windows Store are ^%$#@!"... pay the top games developers some bucks so they give away free games