The NASCAR iRacing.com Late Model Tour (NiLMT) has spawned some great champions of this virtual sport and with the drivers and teams of this series visiting a diverse set of tracks in 2012 Season Four, it would be no surprise to see the top drivers from this season move on to the upper echelons of the iRacing simulation. In fact, in the first three weeks of the season, the series would visit three distinct tracks and produce three different winners when the points were handed out at the end of each week.
Week One took place at the Lanier National Speedway bullring and when the final laps were completed, it was a Late Model veteran who stood tall amongst his 815 peers who took a green flag at the Georgia track. Burris took one win in one start on the week in a 2951 sof race on November 3rd. Burris led all 65 laps of the race from the pole, besting Scott Howell, Joel Putty, Patrick Thomas and Cody Dusty. The race was worth 182 points for the short track ace out of the Carolina club.
While Bart Hector Jr and Matthew Wright2 tied for second with 172 points, the week may have belonged to Dylan Cecce. Cecce took the big win of the week by taking down the 3023 sof race on November 5th. Cecce took the win by over seven seconds from the pole and topped Wright2, James Locke, Caleb Williams and Kristopher Marlow. The 187 points that Cecce got from that race would have been good enough to lock up first for the week, but the New York driver was on a mission as he finished the week with an incredible 24 wins in 25 starts!
Heath Smith was the pole sitter for the week at Lanier, turning in a 13.451 second lap, besting Landon Sciacca and Ty Majeski. Smith also took top honors in Time Trials over Ron Hagolin and Ty Majeski.
Week Two saw the NiLMT drivers take to the South Boston Speedway. The Virginia track is a favorite amongst most short track racers on the service and once again proved to bring out of the best as nearly 800 sim-racers strutted their stuff at “SoBo.” Randy Bechdel topped the charts with his 3013 sof win on November 6th. Bechel led all 65 laps in the race, defeating Wright2, Daniel Williamson, Dylan Roe and Casey Kirwan. The margin of victory for Bechdel was over seven seconds. The win placed Bechdel atop the weekly standings with 186 points while Wright2’s total of 171 points for this race put him tied for third at the end of the week.
Mike Budzien took home second overall for the week, but once again it was Cecce who sent a statement with five wins in six races and a 171 point total at the completion of Week Two. Cecce’s biggest triumph for the week came during a 3000 sof race on November 7th in which he took the victory over Williamson. Williamson started on the pole and led the first eight of the 65 circuits before handing the lead over to Cecce in the only lead change of the race. Budzien was fourth in this race, behind Hector Jr and in front of Richey Etheridge. Williamson came home in fifth for the week with 170 points.
NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship driver Nick Ottinger took the pole for the week at South Boston with a time of 14.879 seconds. Burris and Smith completed the podium of 400 qualifiers. Hagolin picked up where he left off in Week One by taking the top spot in Time Trials at SoBo over Jeffrey Hileman and Kevin J Myers.
Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted the third week of the season and Eastern Canadian driver Ken OKeefe was the driver to beat as he topped the week after a win in a 2835 sof event on November 14th. OKeefe led the final 18 laps after Cecce led the first 22 circuits of the event with Cecce finishing side-by-side with OKeefe at the line (margin of victory was 0.091 seconds with OKeefe over Cecce). Chase Raudman, Wright2 and Michael Peters3 completed the top five in the race. OKeefe captured 175 points for the win while Cecce’s only start of the week would reward him with 161 points and second place overall out of 1,106 drivers who races on Week Three.
Hagolin had a big win on the week, capturing a 2885 sof online race on November 14th. Hagolin took the win by leading 34 of the 40 laps from the pole over Edward Burch Jr., Hamish Gallagher, Jammey Walker and Joshua Shum. The win was one of two on the week for Hagolin, who would finish eighth overall on the week with 152 points.
Australia’s Francis Dunnett was the quickest driver in qualifying as he put a 30.893 second lap up on the board, which was better than podium runs by Cecce and Malik Ray. He was also the quickest in the Time Trial competition over Mark Jorgensen and Scott Mann. Hagolin’s sixth place run in the Week Three Time Trials will keep him on top of the standings in Time Trials.
When we look at the standings, we see Cecee as one of the drivers to beat this season with drivers like Wright2, Burris and Budzien as early favorites, among others, for the title. Who will win the coveted 2012 Season 4 NASCAR iRacing.com Late Model Tour crown? Find out here as we go through the season on inRacingNews. Next up for the series is the high banks of New Smyrna Speedway!
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!