Completed in 1990, New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the precursor to multiple new paved speedways in the United States, sparking a revival of motorsports within American culture. With long straightaways and tight, flat turns in their main oval configuration, along with a unique road course inside and outside of the main grounds, NHMS has hosted many different kinds of racing events, including NASCAR, Indy, Global RallyCross, and motorcycle competitions. On iRacing, the sprint car community found that their favorite cars were a great fit for this track, and the Magic Mile has been featured in many seasons of the iRacing.com Sprint Car Series. In 2013 Season 2, this was the second time that the iSCS would visit the track this year. Using Week 6 as a drop week, 7-time iSCS champion Alan Binder made his return to NHMS. There was no doubt that Binder would be able to get at least a couple of wins in during the week, but would he be able to gain ground on the current points leader Vinnie Sansone?
During qualifying sessions, it was Alan Binder at the top of the charts with a time of 27.314s. Not far behind was “Front Row” Fred Lampela with a time that was only about three one-hundredths of a second behind Binder’s. A total of 67 entries were placed in the five official races that were held during the week, with Binder on the pole for four of them.
Week 7 began with a small turnout on Monday, with 8 cars taking the green flag for the first 40 lap race. With two cautions that spanned 8 laps, Binder had more than enough time to put distance between himself and Steve Linder to catch his first win of the week. iSCS rookies Cap Henry and Nicholas Howard were scored in third and fourth respectively, while Michael Willard2, who received damage on his vehicle during the event, rounded out the top five.
Quite the number of drivers came out on Tuesday for a rare caution-free event. Alan Binder led a field of 18 cars to the green flag, while the Steve and Michael Linder, Michael Willard2, and Brett Waldrep waged a 4-way battle for second place. While chasing down Ernest Brown for position on Lap 19, Mark Hephner lost control in the slippery Turn 2, spinning his sprint around right in front of Scott Kelly, who was able to avoid colliding with Hephner’s car. No caution was displayed for the spin, as Hephner was able to pull off of the track safely, albeit with a heavily damaged vehicle. As the long green flag run played out, the Linder brothers dueled hard for the third position, but Steve Linder lost control off of Turn 2 and hit the inside retaining wall, damaging his car and placing him out of contention. When the checkered flag waved, Alan Binder took his second straight win of the week, after he was able to put cars all of the way up to seventh position one lap down. Michael Willard2 was the runner-up, 11 seconds behind Binder. Michael Linder completed the podium with his third place run. Brett Waldrep and Ernest Brown completed the top five respectively.
Thursday showcased the largest field of the week, with a full field of 20 cars ready to contend for points. Soon after Binder took the green flag, Eric Aumont spun in Turn 2 on Lap 1, bringing out the first yellow of the evening. Soon after the restart, Willard2 lost control in Turn 4, hitting the pit road barrier after contact with Scott Green’s sprint. During the mayhem, Waldrep experienced electrical issues, which shot his sprint into the inside retaining wall, sending him up the track right into the path of Larry “Coon” Landry. After the cleanup, a longer green flag session was finally held, but on Lap 20, Aumont lost control once more and collected a few unfortunate drivers in the incident. The green flag was displayed once again on Lap 25, and the race was able to go on until the checkered flag. A tense wheel-to-wheel showdown for fourth place was seen between Michael Linder, Eddie Walczyk, and Ryan Steele that had spectators on the edge of their seats. When the checkers fell on Race #3, Binder was seen taking the trip to victory lane once more, with his third win of the week. Steve Linder scored another runner-up result, and Scott Green completed the podium in third. Michael Linder and Eddie Walczyk rounded out the top five after Steele lost control on the exit of the last corner coming to the checkers. Steele was scored in the eighth position post-race.
Friday’s small field made up the highest SOF event of the week (2404), and it was a familiar face in victory lane once again, as Binder went 4-for-4, making up a perfect week for his bid for the championship title. Behind him, the heat was turned up even more with the rivalry of Sansone and Lampela, as Sansone was able to beat Lampela to the finish line by just a few tenths of a second, earning himself a second place run. Lampela finished in third, and Ryan Steele overcame his late spin on Thursday to finish fourth. Coon Landry completed the top five.
The action wasn’t over at NHMS, as one last race was held later in the week on Sunday. While it was frequented with cautions, there were three lead changes over the course of the 28 laps that were held under green flag conditions. Hot off of his first ever official win in the iSCS last week at Bristol, Mark Hephner was once again victorious for the second straight week in a row, leading the last 14 laps to take the checkered flag in the finale for Week 7. Fritz Kletke and Charles Counts made up the podium respectively, while Nicholas Howard was scored in fourth, the last car on the lead lap. Andrew Barman finished in fifth, one lap down.
With racing done for the time being at one-mile tracks, Week 8 brings a favorite track to the iSCS drivers – Concord Speedway. With many showcasing fast sets for the unique 3-turn course, participation will be high, and the action plenty. Sansone still leads the way in the championship hunt, with 56 points separating himself from Lampela. Tune in soon to iRN for the recap of Week 8 of the iSCS at Concord Speedway!
iSCS 2013 S2 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Vinnie Sansone (1087)
2. Fred Lampela (-56)
3. Steve Linder (-271)
4. Cap Henry (-328)
5. Alan Binder (-389)