The NASCAR iRacing.com Class A Series made a trip southeast for a visit to the always interesting Atlanta Motor Speedway. The aging surface at Atlanta not only provides the drivers with an utter handful of a racecar to wrestle for 110 laps, it also provides spectators with a whole lot of door-to-door, high speed racing action.
For the second week in a row, Class A drivers flocked to the front of the leader board, with many NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series (NiPS) competitors taking the week off. Brandon Schmidt did not mind one bit that most of the NiPS drivers stayed at the shop, as he took top honors on the week with 203 championship points. Schmidt dominated his one and only race, starting from the outside of the front row and leading 91 of 110 laps en route to the victory. Schmidt was lucky to have a stellar long run setup, as only one caution slowed the race for four laps. Fellow Class A driver Josh Jones came home second in front of two Pros, Matt Whitten and Steven Gilbert. Finnish driver Marko Viitanen led three laps and rounded-out the top five in the 3250 Strength of Field (SoF) race.
Justin Kirby finished right on Schmidt’s heels for the week’s overall point lead, overcoming an average starting position of sixteenth to score 195 points at AMS. Gregory Miles raced four times on the week, scoring one win and two top fives to place third overall on the week with 186 points. Chris J Miller was a mere one point behind Miles on the week, while the lone Pro in the top five, Jukka Savolainen slotted into a tie for fifth with Kile Gottula at 181 points.
Five hundred and twenty five drivers took to the slick, high-banked oval for Week Five. Terry Garska once again led the way in starts, an award that might as well have his name stamped on it. Garska took the green twenty-nine times on the week, and although he has yet to score a victory, six top fives show he is headed in the right direction. Iberia’s own Luis Lopes started eighteen races, scoring one win, while the always present Howard Bell started seventeen races taking one win and four top five finishes. Sixteen drivers started ten or more races on the week, a huge step up from last week at Bristol Motor Speedway.
With some NiCLAS championship hopefuls utilizing drop weeks over the time that the schedule does not line up with the NiPS, the points are a bit shuffled. However, a few names have been a constant at the top of the charts. Gottula is hitting his sim racing stride and currently leads the points over Rick Foutz. Although barried a bit as of now, Steve Sheehan, Nicholas Morse and Schmidt are drivers to keep an eye on as the season hits its stride.
The NiCLAS is just coming off a huge transition from 1/2 mile Bristol to 1.5 mile Atlanta in back-to-back weeks. The roller coaster continues next week as the series returns to a short track, this time in the form of 3/4 mile Richmond International Raceway. Although competitors would undoubtedly love to transfer their Bristol setup to Richmond, it might be a bit of wishful thinking. Although similar in size, the two tracks offer extremely different characteristics. Getting the power down off RIR’s tight, relatively flat corners will be a setup guru’s nightmare; but for those who get it dialed in, big rewards in the form of wins are awaiting them over the course of Week Six.