Driving finesse combined with brute force as the NASCAR iRacing.com Class A Series made a trip to “Thunder Valley” for Week Seven of their twelve week season. Just as with their physical world counterparts, multiple groove racing was the theme for the NASCAR sim racers at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 750+ horsepower Chevrolet Impalas could run from the edge of the apron to the safer barrier — and anywhere in between. With that being said, it is still a half mile, high banked bullring, where racing real-estate is always at a premium.
A new name emerged atop the NiCAS pylon this week, that being Dylan Duval. Duval is no stranger to scoring huge amounts of points in some lower divisions, but he is now putting a stamp on the NiCAS. This week he did just that on what is arguably the toughest track on the schedule. Duval may be atop the points, but Week 7 saw Paul Kusheba put together one of the strongest performances we have seen from anyone thus far in the season. The NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship driver raced seven times on the week, winning six, including the top split of the week. That top split would be crucial in determining the outcome of the week’s competition, as Duval brought it home second, while Kusheba’s weekly points haul suffered from the sheer amount of races in which he competed.
Not too many NiSWC drivers stole the show this week in Bristol, as there were only two top-ranked drivers in the top fifteen. Kenneth O’Keefe and Ashley Miller are two Class A licensed drivers who put together some solid races, earning themselves second and third in points with 293 and 288 respectively. The top NiSWC driver on the week was Chris Overland in fourth, while Overland’s teammate and championship chaser, Adam Gilliland rounded-out the top five.
James Boyett started the most races on the week with eighteen and, together with James Robinson, Jeffery Morrisette and Jimmy Winn, was one of four drivers to compete in ten or more races on the week. Of the four, Boyett had by far the best week, stringing together eleven top fives, and two wins to go along with a seventh place average finish. Kusheba doubled the wins of his closest followers with six, while Dillan Raffurty and Phillip Loy each compiled three victories on the week.
With the sudden change with the NiSWC schedule (switching from Bristol to Chicagoland), many top NiCAS competitors utilized Week 7 as a drop week, secure in the knowledge there would be only a few NiSWC drivers turning-up in Thunder Valley. Adam Gilliland did not seem to mind one bit as he raced, earned himself 272 points, and now finds himself atop the Division One points standings….albeit with an extra week counted compared with a few of the people chasing him.
From the tricky confines of Bristol, the NiCAS heads to the wide open expanses of Michigan International Speedway for the next stop on the tour. One thing that will remain the same from week to week is the many options of lines to run, and the little matter of which line will prevail over the long haul. Setup gurus will be tested to not only find speed, but to make the 3,450 pound car stick in multiple grooves, all over the race track. Multi-grooved racing provides awesome side-by-side racing, allowing drivers to make their way forward with a good handling race car. Check back next week at inRacingNews.com for all the week’s highlights.