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by Chris Cunningham on February 24th, 2010
The iRacing Late Model Tour, also known as the NASCAR iRacing.com Late Model Series (NiLMS), brings in many top online racers from many different abilities and walks of life. The quality of the sim racing is just as exciting (if not more) as some of the superior NASCAR-sanctioned series, with a caliber of drivers who are all rightfully trying to earn their spot in the next batch of Pro series-qualified drivers this May. Several top tier drivers are hoping to use their Late Model experience as a platform to be able to race with the best in the Impala A and B cars. There is no better venue on the schedule than the legendary Milwaukee Mile, in West Allis, WI, for the drivers in the NiLMS to showcase their hidden potential and their taste for victory.
To date, the Milwaukee Mile is the largest track the iRacers have had to tame in their Late Models, with USA Speedway and Oxford both less than a mile. Milwaukee provided great racing throughout all ten divisions, and just about nine hundred drivers competed over the course of the week. With just three races in, the 2010 Season One’s Late Model competition is getting intense. Justin Hoyle, a Carolina native, went undefeated this week, securing five wins in five races. Overall, the Division One leader sits a mere two points ahead of Brett Nesbitt, who gained sixteen points on Hoyle this week, despite his five-for-five performance. Nesbitt ran only one race on the circuit, but due to a higher strength of field, Hoyle’s wins were just not enough to stop Nesbitt. Jonathan Ross also had an outstanding week, tying Hoyle with 171 points after winning two of his three races this week. A dark horse in the NiLMS may be Ben Burnett, a driver just outside of the top thirty in points who won four of five races this week. His only “loss” was a fourth in a race won by Ashley Miller, who is currently third in the Division One standings, just thirty-six points behind Hoyle.
The Division Two drivers may have had the closest racing all season. Goran Strand, a Swedish driver running for the Scandinavian club, got the most points this week — 149 — after racing for two second place finishes. During one split Strand battled with the hard-charging David Preston. Strand started on the pole, and led the first 46 laps in the 50 mile shootout. However, Preston gave the Swedish driver a run for his money, sitting contently in second place for the majority of the race. Strand was unaware, despite his domination, that Preston was stalking his prey. Within ten laps to go, both drivers exchanged blows, racing side-by-side. On lap 47, Preston got around Strand and never looked back, taking the win by two tenths of a second. Overall, Strand heads 170 drivers in the Division Two standings with Steven Dager Jr. just 3 points back and Kevin West 13 points back in third. Heading into Week Four, the top five drivers in Division Two are all within a 19 point gap.
Will McMillan, who elected to use Oxford as a drop week, ran only one race at Milwaukee in order to test his Monte Carlo for the upcoming week at Lime Rock Park. McMillan is a seasoned road racer who has defeated prominent A class road drivers, and sits within the top 55 in points and enjoyed turning left at Milwaukee.
You could run side-by-side very well at Milwaukee,” he said. “There was great racing there. It’s a fun track, and I can’t wait to see what the Late Models can do this week at Lime Rock”.
McMillan, and several other drivers are very eager to see how well the Late Models can run at Lime Rock Park. This week the drivers will be traveling all the way from the Midwest to the Northeast. Expect to see some new names and familiar faces, as the 1.54 mile road course in Connecticut is sure to bring some great racing action in the NASCAR iRacing.com Late Model Series.