Jeremy R Allen became the newest NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship (NiSWC) race winner on Tuesday night, taking the victory at Talladega Superspeedway. The Indianapolis sim racer led only five of the 90 laps, but they were the most important five of the whole race. Late race contact with Theo Olson ended-up with Olson spinning into the wall and Allen cruising to the win under the caution flag.
“I was trying to push Theo so that I could finish second, but he lagged a little bit and I got into him harder than I expected,” Allen said. “When he moved up the track, I pulled down and took over first.”
Thomas Lewandowski came home second with Tyler Hudson, Brad Davies and Brian Schoenburg rounding-out the top five at the finish. Lewandowski was pleased with his runner-up finish, and also thankful for his good luck on restarts.
“After everything got sorted out I found myself in eighth position and managed to work my way up to third after a few restarts.” he said. “Jeremy and Theo then got together in the tri-oval which ended-up leaving me with the second spot.”
Luck was a common theme from the drop of the green flag. The race started with Steve Sheehan leading the field to the green. With qualifying being of upmost importance in iRacing’s restrictor plate package, Sheehan looked poised to be a contender all day. The first yellow flew just four laps into the race when defending series champion Richard Towler and Schoenburg made contact on the back straightaway, sending Towler into the wall. The 2010 champ just cannot seem to catch a break and his 40th place finish at Talladega was just the latest in a string of disappointing results.
The field then settled into a long green flag run, including a round of green flag pit stops that was interrupted by another crash on the back straightaway, this time involving several cars. The resulting caution relegated drivers in the pits at the time (including Sheehan and Martinsville winner Josh Berry) to the back of the pack on the restart.
With so many fast cars at the back, the action was sure to pick up. “Once all those fast guys went to the end of the line, you just knew things were going to pick up” explained twelfth place finisher Jameson Spies.
Spies was right, as four cautions flew in the last 40 laps of the race. All the incidents could be chalked-up as ‘racing deals,’ as drivers jockeyed for position in a fashion typical of restrictor tracks like Talladega. Amidst all the action, Olson emerged in the lead (after starting thirtieth) and needed to hold-on for just a few more laps to earn the win.
As the field restarted with six laps remaining, Olson and Allen broke away from the pack by a couple of car lengths with Allen pushing Olson all the way around the 2.66 mile track. The tactic worked well for both drivers until a bump from Allen sent Olson high in the tri-oval, enabling Allen to duck underneath for the lead. Approaching Turn One, Olson turned down a bit too much and the two made contact, with Olson spinning across Allen’s nose and into the wall, relegating him to a disappointing thirty-seventh place finish.
For such an unpredictable race, the points stayed largely the same at the top thanks to the fact than none of the series leaders cracked the top twenty at Talladega. Thomas Hazard (187 points) continues to lead the standings by a slim six points over Ray Alfalla. With 170 points Josh Parker occupies the third spot while Berry and Chris Main are tied for fourth with 163 points. Defending champion Towler sits thirty-fourth, already out of the running to repeat just five races into the season.
The NASCAR iRacing.com World Championship Series returns to short track racing on April 27 at Richmond International Raceway. The last two short track races have been full of caution flags and plenty of hot tempers. Will Richmond be more of the same, or will it be a breath of fresh air from the tense times at Talladega? Tune into the action in two weeks’ time to find out!