Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi covers the videogame industry for Local Tech Wire and WRAL.com.

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — NASCAR fans won’t have a new simulation game this year, but EA Sports has shipped the new family-oriented .

The game is the second title, and second consecutive NASCAR game, from EA’s Morrisville studio. So far, the 10-man team that has created "NASCAR 09" on PlayStation 2 and NASCAR’s answer to Mario Kart on Wii has been a great success. The new Wii game has garnered a MetaCritic.com rating of 70 from major game outlets. When it comes to NASCAR games, critics don’t matter, but it’s nice to have positive momentum.

I caught up recently with the head of the Morrisville Studio, Ryan Stradling, who told me his team wanted to make sure this Wii game really focused on the family. Although the game offers a solid single-player experience, it’s really a lot of fun when you start having four-player races.

Although it’s definitely an arcade title, the development team did incorporate some elements from its NASCAR simulation roots. The Wii game offers a streamlined team racing concept, where you get in the zone. This is similar to the drafting effect in "NASCAR 09." Players pick a teammate, and when you are in his zone and his draft, you start getting boosts and you start working together as a team to try to get ahead in the race. That’s something that not even the addictive Mario Kart offers.

Another nice alternative to the NASCAR simulation game experience is the more open field of 12 cars versus 43. And the fact that the tracks, only one of which is the traditional left-turn-only tarmac, are all really wide makes for fun racing experiences. Players still see NASCAR signs, but these cartoony tracks meander all over the place, creating a unique feeling that NASCAR fans have yet to experience. Multiplayer supports up to four players at a time and the races clock in at around five minutes in length to support the party-gaming phenomenon that has flourished around Wii

The Morrisville team spent a lot of time working on the controls for this game to appeal to the more casual NASCAR gamer. There are plenty of people who pick up a Wii Remote as a newbie, so Stradling said the team worked on the controls to ensure that they replicated a steering wheel any way they were held. The key to this game is that it’s fun and accessible. That has never been the case with the traditional NASCAR simulation games, which were aimed at the core NASCAR die-hards.

NASCAR favorites like Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are among the drivers in the game. Players can also choose from assorted male and female fictional characters, as well. NASCAR Kart Racing opens up the sport to the masses, much like Nintendo’s Wii has opened up gaming to people who never dreamed they’d one day play a videogame.