December 2nd, 2015 by Jason Lofing
Allen Boes (Deadzone) dominated the field at Watkins Glen International for his second straight win in the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series. The championship leader started on pole with a lap over three-tenths faster than the field and went on to lead 37 of 45 laps, only relinquishing the lead during pit stops. Teemu Iivonen (LRM) led the other eight circuits and finished second, 13 seconds behind Boes. Dylan Duval (The TEAM) was third, Logan Clampitt fourth, and Adam Gilliland (Aftermath) fifth.
As is often the case on a road course, the action started early with a series of incidents before the field reached the Esses on Lap One. Brandon Schmidt and Mitchell Hunt (HPM) both had issues which caused a chain reaction crash involving several drivers. Officials kept the race green which spread the field, giving those who started in front of the calamity a large advantage.
At the front, Boes immediately began to pull away from the field, consistently running laps three to four tenths faster than anyone in the field. It was apparent no one in the field could hang with Boes on raw speed, but a fast driver on an alternate pit strategy had possibilities of spoiling his day. Iivonen, who ran second for most of the race, tried such a strategy. Instead of a traditional one-stop strategy, Iivonen planned to pit twice and hoped the benefit of fresh tires would outweigh the extra time spent in the pits.
On Lap 16 Iivonen pitted for the first time while Boes stuck to a one-stop strategy stretched his tires until Lap 22. Before Iivonen pitted he was eight seconds behind Boes, but pitting a few laps earlier gave Iivonen a 12.7 lead over Boes after the leader pitted.
While 12.7 is a large margin, Iivonen would need far more in order to stay with Boes after making his second pit stop. When Iivonen pitted on Lap 31, Boes had already cut the margin in half despite a scary moment where Jeff Ramsdell crashed just in front of Boes, nearly collecting him in the process. By the time Iivonen was back on track after his stop, he was scored eleventh, 30 seconds behind Boes with 15 laps to go.
With fresher tires than the cars in front, Iivonen quickly moved through the field and he cracked the top five just six laps after pitted. However, he was still 22 seconds behind Boes with no hope to catch him. To Iivonen’s credit he kept fighting until the end and did rebound to finish second, a finish which boosted him to sixth in the series standings.
Boes widened his margin over his closest competitors in the championship hunt. He now holds a 54-point lead over Duval with four races remaining. The battle for the rest of the top five is still hotly competitive with Duval only six points ahead of the tie for third between Josh Berry and Thomas Davis. Dillon Raffurty rounds out the top five, two points further back and three points in front of Iivonen.
Next race on the schedule sees the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series drivers and teams head back to a downforce track as the series shifts to the 1.5 mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. With two weeks until the next race, teams will be trying to catch Deadzone, as they are clearly the team to beat as of now. Can Boes keep his win streak alive, or will another sim racer finally get the best of him? Tune into LSRTV on December 15 to catch the sim racing action!