Pocono Raceway was once again the scene for 7 online races in both the Open and Fixed Series that combine to make – the NASCAR iRacing Series. Last time we visited the Pocono Mountains just inside Pennsylvania, Ryan Lowe got the best of the competition – and with him rolling into Week 21 with a boosted morale after claiming the most points last week; It would be hard to bet against him this week. Ryan Michael Luza topped the timing sheets in qualifying, putting in a 52.631s lap around Pocono – almost .2s quicker than anyone else!
Race 1 of the Fixed series saw Matt Bussa lead the way by over 1 second, taking 301 points away for his win in the 4698 SoF race. Pole-sitter Luza lead almost the same amount of laps as Bussa (31) but was unable to keep the points leader behind for the entirety of the race, falling back to P2, which still earned him a reasonable points hall of 290. Brandon Buie completed the Top 3, just shy of 7 seconds behind Bussa at the finish.
Race 2 was action packed as ever, with Kris Kelley and Steffen Nobis fighting it out for the top spot. Kelley came out with this win this time, but Nobis should not be disheartened considering he went from P14 to P2 – still some achievement. In Split 2 Sam Compton was the victor, just .2s ahead of Jacob Corrigan in the Second Position. David Luer was the winner in Split 3 with just 1 second separating the top 4 drivers. Kevin Hopkins took to the checkered flag first in Split number 4, with the action still coming thick and fast in all the splits.
Jason Karlavige managed to keep the reigning NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Tyler Hudson at bay in Race 3, something only the best achieve in Top Split online racing. Just .115s was the difference between the two of them at the checkered flag – with Luza close behind in P3. Luza had fastest lap – and led the most amount of laps – but couldn’t get ahead of the duo infront.
The final Fixed race of the week provided the highest SoF as well, meaning for those running for the top spots in the championships – taking advantage of the points available is key to success. Bussa did just that, after leading 47 laps he was the first to the finish line and received 311 points for his championship campaign. Justin Bolton was just .2s behind at the finish, but he had to worry about P3 Michael Conti more than he did about catching Bussa. Conti finished just .073s behind Bolton, displaying how close DWC and PRO drivers are to each other in terms of pace.
Chad Laughton carried on where he left off from the last visit to Pocono, once again putting his name at the top of the timing sheets with a win in Race One of the Open week. Kenny Humpe applied the pressure to Laughton – and lead the same amount of laps as him, but was unable to find a way through the Carolina simracer – thus holding onto P2 at the finish. Bolton raced in the Open races as well as the Fixed races, and by driving to P3 he earnt himself 369 points to add to his title campaign. Luza and Steven Eszenyi were 5 and 9 seconds behind Laughton, showing the field seem to separate in bundles rather than just evenly spreading out.
Race Two saw similar names at the top of the Top Split – with the exception of the winner. Conti got himself a win at Pocono, similarly to Laughton – having a .1s delta to P2, which happened to be Humpe! Luza moved up one place from his P4 finish in Race 1, with Nathan Wise stepping up to the plate and grabbing 357 points in the process. Jordy Lopez Jr was 3 seconds behind in P5, still getting a handy 344 points to put towards his PRO campaign.
The last Open race of the week saw Chris Overland make his way to Victory Lane once again, with a nice battle with Benjamin Burmeister for the win in the latter stages. Burmeister came close, just .232s was the delta, but didn’t quite managed to overtake Overland in order to get the win. Steffen Nobis was just over 1 second behind in P3, with Matt Spangler and Jacob Harberts rounding out the Top 5.
DXRacer’s Patrick Crabtree still holds the top spot in the Open Series with 1 week in hand – and with P2-P5 all counting 20 weeks rather than 21, the fight for the title isn’t finished yet! Justin Bolton is the closest man to Crabtree, just 6 points shy of 6000 points – and 561 short of Crabtree. But with being a week behind Crabtree, that gap could well change in the next few weeks. Steven Eszenyi is still in the running in P3, just 40 points shy of Bolton – with Casey Tucker and Jordy Lopez Jr really close to each other in P4 and P5, with just 3 points separating the duo.
In the Fixed Series, Bussa holds the lead after taking it away from Dwayne Vincent, who held onto it for most of the season. Bussa seems to be edging away slowly from Vincent – and with 3 weeks in hand it seems Bussa could well be odds on favourite to take the title. Steven Gilbert still holds P3, only 240 points behind Vincent – and with the high SoF Top Split NiS races get, that could easily mean a win or a top 5 finish. Bolton and Kelley also held their stations this week at Pocono, with the pair gaining but not changing positions just yet.
Next week, the NASCAR iRacing Series visits its second ‘road’ race of the year, with many of the simracers of the series calling ‘the Glen’ one of their favourite tracks of the season. Just like Sonoma back in Week 16, drivers will have to adjust their setup to cater for the left (and right) turns that Watkins Glen has to offer. Will Bolton be able to claw back some points against Crabtree? Does Vincent have an answer to Bussa? Find out next week, when the round-up of the action at Watkins Glen comes to you on iRacingNews.