The road to the NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship will take on a bit of a different route this year, challenging hopeful sim racers in every way imaginable. Instead of handing out 350 “Pro” licenses to the top 350 ranked drivers, iRacing will let anyone and everyone attempt to fight their way to the top.
The top twelve non-NiSWC drivers for each of the first three season in the Impala A will transfer into the NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series, which will be held in Season Four. The NiPS will also take on an entirely new outlook, as it will be in NiSWC format: One race per week, one qualifying session per week. The thirty-six drivers moving up from the first three Impala seasons will be joined with the bottom twenty-five NiSWC point finishers, which will make up the new look NiPS.
With all that said, Week One is now in the books in what is promising to be the most cut-throat series in iRacing. NiSWC drivers crammed the top spots in the Week One points, with the first Class A driver being Galen Winesette in the seventh position. Tyler Hudson racked-up the most points at Charlotte Motor Speedway with his win over Steve Sheehan and Brandon Buchberger. Not far behind was Brad Wright who won Saturday night in a race stuffed with huge names. Thomas Lewandowski, Jason Burstein and Ray Alfalla made up the rest of the top five, but below them is where it gets interesting.
Winesette is the first of the NiPS hopefuls with 260 points on the week, while Kevin Bouhalassa, Joe Quinn, PJ Stergios and In D Smythe all also had stellar weeks to put themselves in a good position.
Buried a bit down the list are the big names like Jim Caudill Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin King. These drivers are an all but to a lock if they stay focused, but each of them are off the mediocre starts.
As the season progresses there are a few drivers to keep an eye on, sim racers who might fly a bit under the radar. Winesette is always solid, but hardly ever does anything spectacular. Spectacular is not what he needs however, he needs points . . . which is something he is very good at getting. Joe Quinn competed to start the 2010 NiPS and ran well until quitting the series. If Quinn stays focused and races the entire schedule, he should find his way into the top twelve. Another driver who has turned heads as of late is PJ Stergios. Stergios is a consistent top five driver at any track you put him on, and should not have too much trouble making it to the next level.
Week two of the season will take iRacing’s Class A drivers to the high banks of Daytona, where tight packs will black over the thirty one degree bankings at 190mph. Be sure to pull your belts tight though, as the famed “big one” could be lurking around the next corner.