Week Six of the Chevy Silverado Championship saw the drivers head out west to Phoenix International Raceway. There were several close battles to the finish throughout the week, as participants got their first taste of flat track racing in the CSC this season. The trip to PIR marked the second week in a row that a shorter track played host, where the effect of the draft is greatly decreased. When asked about the draft, driver Justin Roberts replied, “I’m glad the past two weeks haven’t been draft-lock city but you still feel it even at Bristol. I would run faster behind someone than by myself. iRacing still has some work to do in that area, but it is a continuing development and hopefully with some time it will be pretty good.”
Without the draft to bunch the field, one would expect the races to get strung out by the finish. That, however, was certainly not the case.
Mid-South driver Josh Berry made the most of his one start at PIR, scoring 236 points in a dominating win over Jason Burstein, Marc Wulf, Jim Caudill Jr. and Justin Roberts, who rounded out the top five finishers. Berry led 77 out of the 90 laps run and was never seriously challenged by another racer. The win extended Berry’s CSC points lead to 124 points over second place man Tyler D Hudson and 242 points over an idle Jesse Atchison. Roberts and Byron Daley slot in at fourth and fifth, 245 and 281 markers back respectively as the season hits its halfway point.
In other racing action, Mike Izzo won a hotly contested race Saturday night over Joel Nori. The race featured several different pit strategies, with a long green flag run mixed-in as well. Nori short-pitted for tires under green, and Izzo inherited the lead and it appeared he would cruise to an easy victory. However, Stacy Thomas spun which set up a green-white-checker finish. Izzo stayed out, along with Nori and Sandeep Banerjee. Jameson Spies pitted for two fresh tires, while Jason Lofing opted to take four. When the green flag waived, Lofing easily cleared Banerjee and Spies and set sights on the leaders, but a huge crash on the back straightaway brought the yellow out once again, and Izzo emerged victorious. When asked about his strategy of not pitting at the end, Izzo explained, “Seems like whenever it comes down to a couple lap shootout, there’s always another quick yellow. It just worked out in my favor this time.”
As far as overall wins go, Burstein leads the CSC with 41 victories in 90 starts over the first six weeks of the season. Remarkably, this is 23 more wins than anyone else in the CSC. The driver from out west added seven more victories to his total this week at PIR, including a hard fought win on Saturday over Hudson by .108 of a second, with the top four finishers all within .252 of a second. Burstein grabbed the lead with six laps to go, the only laps he led the entire race.
For Week Seven, the series heads to the 1.5 mile Chicagoland Speedway which will mark the first time the CSC has visited the track. Will it be draft lock like the other 1.5 milers, or will Chicago prove to be different? Will Berry survive and retain the lead in the overall championship? Stay tuned next week to find out!