September 28th, 2016 by Jason Lofing
Logan Clampitt (High Performance Motorsports) visited victory lane for the first time in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, holding-off championship contenders Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) and PJ Stergios (ineX Racing) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Brad Davies came home Alfalla and Stergios with Ryan Lowe rounding-out the top five.
Clampitt used pit strategy to take the lead after a round of green flag pit stops late in the race and never looked back. He showed impressive poise for a rookie on a pair of late-race restarts, maintaining the lead as chaos erupted behind him.
Stergios started on pole but outside polesitter Nick Ottinger had the fastest car on the first run and moved into the lead on Lap 12. Ottinger began building a gap which grew to nearly 1.5 seconds before the first caution flag flew on Lap 23, drawing the leaders to pit road.
The leaders all took four fresh tires and Ottinger won the race off pit road, barely beating Stergios who restarted in second. On the next run Alfalla moved to second and kept pace with Ottinger as Stergios fell to fourth behind Josh Berry. The four would run in this order until the third caution flew on Lap 52 for Chris Overland’s spin.
Ottinger once again kept the lead on pit road and looked to run away from the field when the green flag flew. This time, however, Ottinger had company at the front as Alfalla showed he could keep pace as the run wore on. On Lap 92 Alfalla made his move on the bottom and drew alongside Ottinger through Turns Three and Four but could not complete the pass as he lost drive off the corner on the flatter bottom groove.
For the next nine laps Alfalla hounded the race leader, diving to the inside on multiple occasions without success. Finally, on Lap 101, Alfalla got a strong run off Turn Two and completed the pass entering Turn Three. The lead awarded Alfalla with an important bonus point, but green flag pit stops loomed.
Clampitt pitted a couple laps before the race leaders and the strategy paid off as he inherited the lead with 30 laps to go once the pit cycle completed. Alfalla was closing with his fresher tires but Timmy Hill’s spin with 18 to go brought the leaders to pit road and set up the dash to the finish.
Alfalla maintains the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze championship lead into the series finale thanks to his runner-up finish. He gained one point on Stergios and holds a slim five-point lead. Disaster nearly struck Stergios with ten laps to go when Mitchell Hunt crashed off Turn Two, slamming into Stergios’ door in the process. Somehow, Stergios continued on despite the damage and kept pace well enough to score a strong finish.
Jake Stergios appears relatively safe in third place, 104 points back of Alfalla and 22 points ahead of fourth place driver Overland. Overland is in the middle of a points battle of his own as Dylan Duval (The TEAM) is now only two points behind after Overland’s troubles left him in thirty-first. The battle for the back end of the top five will likely be decided between the two as Kenny Humpe is 27 points back of Duval after experiencing Internet troubles.
With only one race remaining all eyes will be on Alfalla and Stergios as the twosome head to Homestead-Miami Speedway in search of a NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series title title. Stergios is looking for his first championship while Alfalla is hoping to win his third after finishing runner-up the past three seasons. A five-point margin gives Alfalla the advantage, but if Stergios can get out to an early lead the pressure will be squarely on Alfalla. Who will take home the crown? Be sure to tune into iRacing Live in two weeks to see the conclusion of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series from Homestead!