Last week the NASCAR iRacing Series rolled into the Bluegrass State and Kentucky Speedway for Week 15 of the series. Kentucky Speedway is the newest track on the NASCAR schedule, having first held a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race in 2011. NASCAR iRacing Series leader Tyler D Hudson came in to the week with an 898 point advantage over second place Landon Harrison following Week 14 at Sonoma Raceway.
Thursday night marked the first online race of the week, with Jeremy Lukaszka earning week’s first pole and Lance Gomez Jr starting on the outside front row when the green flag flew. Third starting Brandon Atkinson wasted little time getting to the front and took the lead on Lap Seven.
The yellow flew on Lap 10 and the field filed down pit road for the first stops. EJ ORourke won the fight off pit road and led the field to the restart on Lap 14. Brad Davies soon found his way into the clean air on Lap 18 and never looked back, leading almost all the laps from that point before the race ended under the 13th yellow of the event.
Davies led a total of 99 of 133 laps to best Brandon Buie while Kyle McCormick, who is sitting in third in points, came home in the third spot. Matt Bussa led seven laps on the way to fourth with pole-sitter Lukaszka rounding-out the top five. Harrison brought his Gen6 car home seventh, trimming Hudson’s series points lead to 654.
Saturday was an action-packed day of online racing in the virtual Blue Grass state with two 133 lap races. Early Saturday morning, oval sim-racers outside of the U.S. hit the track with Jeroen Anema starting from the pole and Jake Goodwin on the outside front row.
Anema led 31 of the 133 laps only to find out he did not have the fastest car when it counted. Jordan Werth was the class of the field, leading 81 laps — including the most important one – to take the checkered flag. William Green and Goodwin up picked up second and third with Goodwin leading five laps, while Anema and Chris E Pence grabbed fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
Saturday afternoon it was time for race three. Nicholas Goertzen and Jonathan Holz found themselves sitting on the front row of field that included NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship drivers Robert Hall and Ray Alfalla, who started from third and 21st respectively.
At the green flag flew Goertzen showed it was not a fluke he got the pole, leading the first 28 laps before Hall took the lead with Alfalla breaking into the top five at the same time. Nine laps later Alfalla took the lead for keeps, outlasting eight yellows and following the pace car to the win, as the race ended under yellow for the second time of the week.
The race looked good for the first 80 laps as there was only one yellow but things quickly deteriorated in the latter third of the event. Goertzen finished runner-up with Bob Bryant coming home P3. Hall led 17 laps on the way to fourth place while Brian Day battled his way to fifth after starting f22nd.
With his sixth win of the season, Alfalla got back into the top five in the series standings. Following the race I caught up with Alfalla for a little Q and A about his win.
“It got quite difficult to pass the front runners . . . as expected.” — Ray Alfalla
Q: After coming in to the room and you saw where you were starting what kind of plan did you make for yourself?
A: Get to the front as fast as possible, haha.
Q: 37 laps in, you made your way to 5th. How did you feel about your chances to win at that point in the race?
A: I felt pretty good about it, but it got quite difficult to pass the front runners . . . as expected.
Q: The last 50 or so laps in the race you spent a lot of time under yellow. How did that affect your mind as a driver knowing you had a winning car?
A: Back-to-back yellows are very frustrating, since you lose all rhythm. Luckily I had a few friends on TeamSpeak that made the cautions entertaining.
Q: What do you take from a good race like this that can help you in the next races you have coming up?
A: I felt like the NiSWC race was a bit of a struggle for me, even though I got third. The NiS races are great practice and serve as confidence boosters.
Q: Who makes it happen for you week in and week out?
A: Progeek Consulting, iRacing Brasil, Garry Mercer Trucking, disabledracers.com, iHolder, Tim’s Corner, Hick ‘n’ Jick’s, and JDR Graphics. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by the great people at Drill Aisle and JScho Motorsports, or as we like to call it, Drill Scho.
Sunday was the final day of NASCAR iRacing Series competition in the Bluegrass State. Chad Pruitt and RJ Williams led the field to the green with Alfalla starting 17th this time. After week of yellows the field had to deal with some early cautions, the first coming on Lap 10 and a big one coming on Lap 26 that had saw race leader Gomez Jr fly through the air down the backstretch.
Alfalla took the lead for the second time on Lap 38 after Gomez Jr beat him off of pit road on the first round of stops on Lap 16. Alfalla lost the lead when he made a green flag stop on Lap 92, but regained the point twenty laps later when he passed Michael Conti and went on to pick-up his second win in a row. Conti and Danny Hansen come home second and third with Byron Daley and Alan J Elwood grabbing fourth and fifth.
Overall, Harrison gained considerable ground on the absent Hudson as the NASCAR iRacing Series moves on to Daytona for Week 16. Drivers will have to do there best to stay out of the big one for 80 laps of drafting. Also keep an eye out for my weekly tune up where I will be doing a Q and A with NASCAR iRacing Series vet Harrison Widelitz along with a history lesson about the Daytona International Speedway.