November 2nd, 2009 by DavidP
The 13th week of the iRacing Pro Series began with a two field split on Wednesday evening at Lowes Motor Speedway, with Josh Berry winning the first of the splits and Darrin Stevens taking the victory in the second.
In the first split, Berry took the victory after starting in the fourth position. Berry led 25 laps en route to his seventh victory of the season.
“It’s pretty awesome to get another win at a tough track like Lowes,” said Berry. “The car was awesome all night, and I just did my best to ride it out until it was time to go to the front. I’m glad that in the end (Thomas) Hazard and I could battle it out at the end and get a 1-2 finish.”
Berry earned a huge 319 points towards his championship total with the victory and increased his iRating by 48 points. Berry also improved his Safety Rating by .05 to a perfect rating of 4.99. It was Berry’s 17th top-five in 21 starts and he continues to move up the standings with his string of victories.
Coming in second position was the Midwestern driver, Thomas Hazard. Hazard started all the way in the 18th position and worked his way through the pack to challenge for the win, setting fastest lap on the night. Hazard earned 303 points for his second place finish, increased his iRating by 39 points and increased his Safety Rating by .22 to a 4.77, nearly a perfect rating. It was Hazard’s ninth top-five finish in just 11 races this season (including four wins) and leaves him sitting a solid 20th in points.
Finishing in the third position was Mid-South’s, Jim Caudill Jr. who started from pole and led an impressive 83 laps during the race.
“I thought I had the car to beat, but Hazard and Berry got me at the end,” said Caudill Jr. “Berry was really, really strong in the long run. I think I may have pushed a little too hard out front, and it bit me on the long runs. Hopefully we can run better next time and compete for the win again.”
Caudill Jr. earned a solid 287 points for his third place finish, increased his iRating by 78 points and also increased his Safety Rating by .72 points to a superb 4.49 rating, just half a point short of perfect. It was Caudill Jr.’s seventh top-five in only 13 starts. Caudill Jr. now sits 54th in points after only running nine of the 13 weeks, and is sure to improve his points position once drop weeks come into effect.
Thomas Lewandowski came home in fourth after starting seventh and Josh Parker brought his car home in fifth after starting third.
In the second split, it was Darrin Stevens taking his first victory of the iRacing Pro Series career. Stevens started in the seventh position and only led 10 laps before earning his maiden victory. Stevens earned a large 315 points for his efforts and increased his iRating by 59 points. Now with five top-fives in 13 starts, Stevens currently sits 15th in the point standings.
Coming in second was Mid-South’s Daniel Pope II. Pope started in the eighth position and moved up through the race, managing to lead one lap during the event. He earned 300 points for his second place finish, increased his iRating by 87 points and also upped his Safety Rating to 2.90, a gain of .02. It was Pope’s fifth top-5 in 17 starts and he currently sits 31st in points.
Finishing in the third position was New Yorker Steve Sheehan. Sheehan started in the 17th spot and drove all the way to the lead for 42 laps before slipping behind Stevens and Pope at the checkered flag. Sheehan increased his iRating by 50 points and his Safety Rating to 4.60 with a gain of .21. He also earned a solid 285 points for his third place finish and currently sits 115th in points despite having only run five weeks. With an impressive three top-fives in eight starts and one pole this season, Sheehan is averaging 148.4 points per week. At that rate, had he run all 13 weeks this season, Sheehan would currently be 59th in the point standings.
Coming in fourth was Jake Swanson after starting 13th and Sandeep Banerjee, who started in the 12th position.
iRacing Oval Pro Series points leader Brad Davies struggled after starting on the pole and finished 12th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th, Ray Alfalla finished 19th, and Brian Schoenburg finished 20th.