The Drill Aisle’s Brad Davies was the class of the field at Phoenix International Raceway and earned his first NASCAR iRacing Pro Series victory of the 2015-16 season. Davies started from the pole, led 107 of 156 laps, and held-off Josh Berry (High Performance Motorsport) on a six lap shootout to find victory lane.
Davies and David Rattler (LockDown Racing) made up a surprising front row followed by last week’s winner Cody Byus (The TEAM) and Berry in the second row. When the green flag waved Davies sprinted out to an early lead as the field sorted out behind him.
As the run wore on Davies stretched his lead to over 3.5 seconds before the first caution flew on Lap 50 for Brian Day’s spin which erased the margin and caused all the sim racers to head into the pits for tires, fuel, and adjustments. Davies comfortably won the race off pit road and looked to pull away on the restart once again.
However, this time the run was much shorter and when Kyle Putz (Bryan Blackford Racing) spun and brought out the caution for a second time on Lap 67. Davies and the rest of the lead lap cars headed back to the pits for more fresh tires. Davies’ second stop was not as good as his first and Boes passed him in the pits and assumed the race lead.
Boes showed he could hold his own against Davies on the short run and his speed combined with frequent cautions kept Davies at bay as the race crossed its halfway point. On Lap 81 yet another yellow flag bought most of the leaders, including Boes and Davies down pit road, but over a dozen cars stayed out. Boes would restart fourteenth with Davies right behind in fifteenth.
With the fastest cars back in traffic and on fresher tires, a wreck seemed inevitable shortly after the restart. Right on cue, a huge crash materialized on the front straightaway just behind Boes, Davies, and Berry.
Tires were at a premium all night and the caution drew Davies and Boes to pit road for tires for two and four fresh tires, respectively. Berry decided to stay on the track, hoping track positions would win out over tires.
On the restart it became clear that track position was no match for Davies’ fresh right side tires. After restarting eighth it took Davies only seven laps to take the lead, but his gap was erased by another caution flag on Lap 121. This time, Trey Eidson (Aftermath) and Byus took two tires while the front-runners took four. Berry beat Davies off pit road and looked to capitalize on having the inside line on the restart.
Both Berry and Davies quickly disposed of the cars on two tires and began to distance themselves from the pack. Berry held the lead but was no match for Davies, who easily took the lead on Lap 135 and paced the field the rest of the way.
With back-to-back runner-up finished to start the year, Berry leads the championship battle after two of nine sim races. He currently holds a two-point lead over Boes with Duval six back of the lead. Byus is 16 markers back and tied for fourth with Michael Johnson.
Week Three sees the series return to a 1.5-mile track as the series visits Homestead-Miami Speedway. Homestead is known for its multiple grooves with iRacing’s new dynamic track and it will be interesting to see which team can best use this to their advantage. Who will find victory lane? Find out next Tuesday when the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series drivers take on Homestead on LSRTV!