Allen Boes scored the first win of his NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing career on Tuesday night at Pocono Raceway, becoming the most improbable winner thus far in 2015. Boes ran near the back for most of the race and narrowly avoided two wrecks before pit strategy enabled him to stay out for the last run of the race and attempt to stretch his fuel mileage to the finish. The gamble paid off, barely, as Boes crossed under the checkers running on fumes. Danny Hansen played the same strategy and finished second despite two spins early in the race. Series point leader Kenny Humpe settled for third after once again having the dominant car, while Tyler Hill and Landon Harrison rounded- out the top five.
“Just kept hoping that I could make it and it held on.” — Allen Boes
After a disappointing start to the season, Boes was relieved to finally have a good day, even if it did take a lucky break or two. “I have no clue how I made it on fuel,” he conceded. “Just kept hoping that I could make it and it held on and gave up right at the finish line.”
The race got underway in familiar fashion: with Humpe leading the field to the green after winning his third pole in six races. However, outside polesitter Ray Alfalla was not about to let Humpe drive away from the field and mounted a strong challenge in the early laps. On the third lap Humpe made a rare mistake off Turn Three and Alfalla took full advantage, accomplishing a feat not seen much in 2015 – passing Humpe under green.
Alfalla’s time at the front was short-lived though as Humpe had the stronger long run car and retook the lead on Lap 14 before caution on Lap 20 saw a new face make his way to the lead. Just before the yellow flag flew, Brian Schoenburg decided to short pit the moment his fuel window opened. The caution was a lucky break as at Pocono it is possible to pit and not lose a lap which cycled Schoenburg to P1 when the rest of the lead lap cars pitted under caution.
Once the green flag flew again Schoenburg’s lead only lasted a couple corners as Nick Ottinger and Humpe passed him just before another yellow came out for a wreck in Turn Two. On the next restart Humpe used the outside line to his advantage and passed Ottinger for the lead and began to distance himself from the field, only to have his margin erased by another caution on Lap 49. The yellow brought the field back to pit road and it appeared everyone would need one more stop to make it to the finish.
However, two more quick cautions produced a split strategy. The top dozen cars decided track position was more important and stayed out, while the majority of the drivers running further back chose to pit under both cautions and top off. This turned out to be the race-winning call for Boes as the last 35 laps ran without a caution flag which forced Humpe, Alfalla, and the rest of the leaders to pit under green.
Though the victory eluded him Humpe still gained ground in the championship standings. He now leads Alfalla by 35 points with Chad Laughton slipping 51 points adrift after finishing tenth. Patrick Crabtree and Chris Overland occupy fourth and fifth respectively.
The next stop for the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series is under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the longest race of the season. The 300 mile event normally sees its fair share of comers and goers as drivers fight to stay ahead in the strategy game while managing setup adjustments. In last year’s running Danny Hansen led just 19 of 200 laps on his way to his first career win. Will Humpe return to his winning ways or will Charlotte have another surprise victor? Be sure to catch all the action under the lights on iRacingLive.