John Gorlinsky drove to victory on Tuesday in Round 13 of the NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gorlinsky, who started from the pole position on the 43 car field, led 117 of 162 laps, including the final 33 circuits of the online race. The driver of the #21 Wrangler Chevrolet Impala set the pace early as well, leading the first 53 laps before green flag pit stops shuffled the running order. This is Gorlinsky’s first win of 2011 and second of his career after crossing the line first at Daytona last season.
“I still can’t really believe it,” said a smiling Gorlinsky in Victory Lane after the race. “We came up with some really good changes and finished-up with the race setup on Sunday night, which is the earliest I’ve ever been done with a race setup. By the time qualifying ended and the race started, I was telling myself this was my shot to really make something happen.”
“This was my shot to really make something happen.” — John Gorlinsky
Indianapolis winner Brad Davies steered his car home in second place after a hard charge brought him to within a half second of Gorlinsky at the finish. Derek Wood rounded-out the podium positions with Chris Main (Germantown, MD) and Josh Parker (Cranston, RI) completing the top five. Twenty drivers finished the event on the lead lap, with 36 cars on track when the checkered flag flew. Six different sim racers exchanged the lead seven times in the race, which featured five cautions and took one hour, 38 minutes to complete.
In pursuit of his second straight NiSWC win at Atlanta, Steve Sheehan started on the outside of the front row and had the makings of a solid run in the #6 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet. He ran in second for much of the race before a pit stop penalty on Lap 134 dashed his hopes for a third win on the 2011 season.
“I was so focused on the pit stop that I messed up the pit entry,” commented Sheehan after finishing 21st. “I got a speeding penalty, went two laps down, and then the yellow came out. That sealed the deal for me.”
Series leader Ray Alfalla also ran near the front of the field early, but a pit stop on Lap 117 was destined to put the #2 ProGeek Consulting Chevrolet a lap down as the caution flew 20 laps later. Although he got the wave around to regain the lead lap, Alfalla was destined for a 12th place finish and departs Atlanta with 467 championship points to his credit. Among the other championship contenders, Thomas Hazard (Rochester, MN) regained second place in the standings by a single point (435-434) over top freshman Brad Wright (High Point, NC) after they finished 11th and 13th places respectively.
Atlanta also marked the beginning of a new era for the NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship as this was the first race in the series featuring iRacing’s all new tire for the Chevrolet Impala. The new tire is a key element of the iRacing 2.0 platform, which rolled-out for all members at the beginning of August.
The stars and cars of the NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship next head to the Midwest for Round 14 at Chicagoland Speedway. With only five races to go, Chicagoland could well have a significant impact on the championship picture. Alhough Alfalla has a hold on the top spot in the standings, Hazard, Wright and the rest are not about to let the Floridian cash that $10,500 championship payday without a fight. The race can be seen live, flag-to-flag on www.iRacing.com at 9pm EDT on Tuesday, August 16th.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!