Richmond International Raceway had the pleasure of hosting the final round of the 2014 NASCAR iRacing Open Series, in which the final places in the standings were cemented in history, and those who finished inside the Top 20 were rewarded with Pro licenses – meaning they qualified for the iRacing Oval Pro Series. The Fixed Series still has plenty of weeks remaining, meaning lots of opportunities for good results for those running the Fixed format.
Corey Vincent set the fastest time in qualifying trim for the Open Series; his a 19.963 was quick enough for pole around Richmond’s .75 mile ribbon of virtual tarmac.
Race One in the Open Series followed tradition by once again being the highest SoF online race of the week at Richmond; a 6335 SoF providing a massive 406 points to the winner, in this case Adam Gilliland, who stepped up to the plate and put on an impressive performance to rack up another win. Gilliland lead 135 laps – equating to almost ¾ of the race distance! Casey Tucker came in a close second, just .7s behind Gilliland. But the big winner with 377 points to his name for a third place finish was Patrick Crabtree, who clinched this year’s Open Champion crown with yet another podium finish. Shane Dougherty completed what has been a tricky season with a good run to fourth place – just four seconds back from Gilliland –while Ray Alfalla rounded-out the top five just behind Dougherty, finishing exactly where he started.
Vincent made good use of his pole-winning qualifying lap to win Race Two of the week. Vincent lead 153 of 200 laps and crossed the line with a .369s buffer to Michael Conti in his first race of the week. Conti set the fastest lap of the race, but wasn’t able to overtake Vincent for the win. Chris Overland was .5s behind Vincent at the finish; however with four incidents to his name, it was far from a squeaky clean drive for Overland. Dougherty put in another great performance to notch up his second fourth of the week, with Robin Williams in fifth.
The Final Open race of the week (and of the season) produced just four splits, with Gilliland once again taking top honours. This time Gilliland enjoyed just 60 laps in the lead, with Malik Ray leading 80 tours en route to a fourth place finish and Alex Warren leading 45 laps. Nicholas Morse finished .5s off Gilliland, quite impressive considering he started P20! Warren was 2.2s back from Morse in third, with the field more spread out in this race. Ray was .8s further back from Warren on 319 points, with Jordy Lopez Jr fifth.
The first Fixed race of the week narrowly earned top SoF (5095) honours of the week, with Ryan Michael Luza taking the win having led 138 laps and set the fastest lap – some would argue that was a dominant performance. NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Brian Schoenburg was Luza’s closest competitor, although coming home two seconds behind at the finish he wasn’t that close! Schoenburg picked up 316 points for his runner-up finish while Jason Jacoby was a further seven seconds behind ahead of Lopez Jr and Brandon Hauff.
Race Two saw only three splits, being the smallest race (in popularity) of the four races run in the Fixed series. Tyler Laughlin and Alexander Abraham each had their fair share of lead laps, with Laughlin leading 86 and Abraham out front for 97, but it was Mid-South’s Laughlin who took the victory – Jeroen Anema finished 1.3s back in third. Matt Yeomans was the winner of Split 2, with a nice 1.6s advantage over Brian Kemerait while Jamie Pitts won Split 3 comfortably over Jason Scandolera.
The 4211 SoF Race Three brought about some good sim racing, with Nicholas Sadowski keeping the field at bay for 130 laps. Despite Jordan Westfall’s best efforts, he was unable to overthrow Sadowski for the win, finishing .4s behind the victor with Brandon Buie just under a second behind in third. Ethan Lane and Don Stephenson were pushed for their positions, but managed to keep going towards Top 5 finishes.
The final race of the Richmond week saw a ‘Black Stripe’ takeover – with the top four drivers all sporting either PRO or PRO/WC licences. Reigning NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Tyler Hudson secured the win over Matt Bussa – who started the race on the pole. Hudson made his way from ninth on the grid, to lead 95 laps, just four less that Bussa. Nonetheless Hudson was in front when it counted, beating Bussa by .232s. Justin Bolton was .661s back in third, with Landon Harrison a further 1.5 seconds behind the winner. Jordan Werth was the fastest A licence driver, still gaining a neat 278 points from a top five position.
The final (provisional) standings in the Open Series look like this: Showing how to win a championship, Crabtree led for the majority of this season and the DXRacer machine finished up with a 274 point lead over the competition. Bolton held on to second and although he closed the gap to Crabtree towards the end of the season, he wasn’t able to truly threaten for the title. Tucker rounded out the top three with his seasonal highlights coming in the form of two wins at Daytona. Tyler Hill finished the season in fourth just shy of 7000 points (6993), with Dwayne Vincent fifth Jordy Lopez Jr, Ryan Lowe, Teemu Iivonen, Steven Eszenyi and Nathan Wise all got into the Top 10!
As for the Fixed Series, Matt Bussa heads the leader board after 26 of 36 weeks, with the gap between himself and Dwayne Vincent closer than it has been for the last couple weeks. Vincent has yet to win a Fixed race, but with 10 weeks left – for sure he has time to try and change that! Steven Gilbert still holds onto tird in the standings, with Kris Kelley (5017) almost 300 points back in fourth. The gap between Kelley and fifth placed Bolton is the closest it’s ever been: one point! This could be highly contested come the end of the season!
As far as the next round is concerned – we bid farewell to the Open Series for another year, as the top drivers advance to the Pro Series, to fight it out for spots in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series. However, the Fixed Series continues on following the real-life schedule, hence Chicagoland is the next meeting on the NASCAR iRacing Series calendar. Check out iRacingNews next week to find out all the results from Chicagoland!