A trip to the heartland of the USA in Week 3 was a welcome sight for the drivers of NASCAR iRacing Class B Open Series after an indifferently attended stop in Rockingham the week before. The smooth surface of the .875-mile Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa led to a better turn out and some great sim-racing as the season closed-in on the 1/4 mark.
Iowa Speedway is one of the few tracks on iRacing that features a set of turns in which the high side is the preferred line. Track position is key at Iowa because passing low through these set of turns is tough and often leads to contact exiting Turn Four. Keys to winning at Iowa for the week were to stay up front and run fast, but at the same time, saving tires in case of a long green flag run.
Lowline Racing’s Trent Ringler entered the week with a five-point lead in the championship chase over Jeff Dukehart following his overall win at Rockingham the week before.
Compared to the Rockingham week where only 21 sim-races went official, the Iowa week jumped up to 25 which made finding that race to score big points critical to exiting the week with a strong showing.
Kevin Burris with High Performance Motorsports seemed to have the car to beat for the week and almost seemed to be a lock to scoot away with the top points haul. However, much like the real world where a cut tire or blown engine can ruin the best car’s day, the virtual world’s “Lost Connection” bit Burris and opened the door for another driver to capture the flag at Iowa.
Burris started from the pole in the feature race of the week which boasted at 3449 strength of field and totaled 76 laps led of the 100 that made up the race. Despite the rough nature of the race (seven yellow flags), Burris was able to keep the lead through the restarts. Disaster struck Burris though as the stretch run of the race was unfolding and left the door open for Johnny Reed Foley with RPM Race Team. Ryan Manning took over the top spot after Burris left with power problems, but Foley commandeered the lead with seven laps remaining and went on for 217-point haul from the Iowa Speedway.
“Our owner, Roger Wagner, kept grinding away until we got it right and put us up front.” — Johnny Reed Foley
“Our team worked really hard on this track,” said Foley. “Our owner, Roger Wagner, kept grinding away until we got it right and put us up front. I made a call to take two tires with about 40 to go which gave me the needed track position. Then I managed to pass Ryan Manning, who was really fast, to take the lead and then it was just a matter of holding everyone else off.”
Burris ended up with a 17th place finish in the 19 car field.
“Well, I had the car to beat all week but when it came down to the big points race, the power went out with less than 25 to go,” quoted Burris. “Tough luck but it happens. As for the wrecks, there were some friends and enemies made by quite a few people which should lead to an interesting week at Charlotte.”
“There were some friends and enemies made by quite a few people which should lead to an interesting week at Charlotte.” — Kevin Burris
Following Foley in getting around Manning were Kyle Manger and Jeff Dukehart to finish second and third respectively. Manning held on to finish the race fourth while BRB Motorsports’ Jason Lupo rounded out the top five.
Foley posted two top fives in four races, but the 217-point performance in the feature race gave him the top total for the week. Points leader Trent Ringler put up another solid week grabbing a win in four starts, good for 205 points. Manger grabbed one win in three starts, but his second place finish and the 204 points that went with it earned him third place for the week. Lowline Racing’s Brian Ammerman also earned a win in four starts that got him fourth for the week at 193 points while Dukehart kept pace in the points race with 192 markers for fifth place.
“I really did not expect much coming into this week,” said current points leader, Ringler. “I normally struggle at Iowa, but after this week I finally understand what it takes to get around this track. The key was once again backing-up the entries. Over driving entry just a little bit just killed the front tires on the long run. Early in the week, it looked like it was going to be a drop week for everybody. With only two big SOF races this week, it was a bit of luck to catch one of them and survive it. Congrats to Johnny Reed Foley on the big win. Thanks again to my crew chief this week, Kevin Burris. That set was incredible.”
“I normally struggle at Iowa, but after this week I finally understand what it takes to get around this track.” – Trent Ringler
Other notes: Jay Brown took the “Raw Hide” award putting-in 1007 laps at Iowa in 11 starts and also led the top fives for the week with seven. Burris took two wins in only three starts and zero incidents in 276 laps, while Anthony Price led 314 of his 693 laps turned in seven starts and led the poles for the week with four.
With the first quarter of the season in the rear view mirror, Ringler extended his overall points lead over Dukehart to 18 points. Foley jumps to third with his big week at Iowa and is now 57 points back of Ringler. Ammerman is holding the fourth place spot trailing by 61 points. BRB Motorsports and two-time truck champion Price, rounds out the top five in the overall points trailing by 101.
Division winners for Week 3:
1 – Johnny Reed Foley 217 (Florida). 2 – Robert Wagner 159 (Plains). 3 – Aaron Budka 129 (Ohio). 4 – John Atkinson 119 (Texas). 5 – Trey Wagner 134 (Plains). 6 – Justin Hirst 71 (Ohio). 7 – Jeremy Gannon 95 (Mid-South). 8 – Greg Lewis 71 (Georgia). 9 – Contato Massimiliano 45 (Italy). 10 – Scott Martin 5 (New York).
Division points leaders after Week 3:
1 – Trent Ringler 554 (Indiana). 2 – Stacy Adams 446 (West). 3 – Joshua D Baker 400 (Ohio). 4 – Thomas Conheady 299 (New York). 5 – Trey Wagner 283 (Plains). 6 – Jack Watts 168 (California). 7 – Jeremy Gannon 179 (Mid-South). 8 – James Hollern 116 (Australia/NZ) 9 – Conato Massimiliano 86 (Italy). 10 – Scott Martin 63 (New York).
Next up, a trip to the heart of NASCAR country and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Outside of Daytona and Talladega, CMS is one of the most popular ovals on the iRacing service. That, coupled with a Memorial Day weekend, should provide plenty of opportunities for the NASCAR iRacing Class B Open Series drivers to get that big points haul.