The NASCAR iRacing Pro Series made a return trip to Charlotte, N.C.. The return was great for some sim racers, but bitter for others as Charlotte Motor Speedway proved it’s not to be taken lightly.
Brad Davies took the top split of the week with Tyler Hudson nipping at his heals in the battle for points. Davies took command of the lead late from race dominator Josh Berry who went a surprising 0 for 2 for the week. Davies snuck under the very loose Berry off the fourth turn with only a handful of laps remaining. Davies then inched away from Berry in the closing laps, earning himself the victory.
Hudson was able to hound Brad Wright until he was able to get underneath him in the closing laps. Wright did not go down without a fight as he lunged after Hudson on the last lap into Turn One, but nearly crashed and cost himself a few spots.
“All-in-all a very fun race.” Hudson mentioned. “Too many cautions but still a really fun race. I enjoyed racing with everyone out there; it was a pleasure.”
Thomas Hazard, Ray Alfalla and Jason Burstein also scored wins this week at Charlotte. As the NASCAR iRacing Series World Championship is now in the books, you can expect a lot of top names winning races. In fact four of the five winners from this week are in the NiSWC top 20 in points (Jason Burstein alone did not compete in NiSWC).
With the season winding down, it is time for drivers to start looking at the bigger picture, not just wins. Heading into With Martinsville Speedway this week, we are only two weeks from starting the drop weeks. Each driver will receive four drops, (the four lowest points totals will be discarded) over the course of the eighteen week season.
On top of the points currently is Byron Daley. Daley is not the best at closing the deal, but he is Mr. Consistant, and is good for a top five each week. He is a lock to finish in the top 20 in points and make the next NiSWC. Next on the list come Richie Davidowitz and Charles Cosper. Both of these drivers are very quick week in and week out, both a lock for the 2011 NiSWC.
Where it gets interesting is towards the bottom of the cut off. With the top twenty pros making the big dance, the fight for the last few spots are heating up. Josh Connors sits fifteenth, but is very unpredictable on a weekly basis, and will need to step up his game to give himself a better chance. Mitchell Hunt has blinding speed but can not seem to keep his car on the track. Hunt without a doubt has NiSWC caliber talent, but if he can not learn to control it he will find himself out of the series. Josh Laughton, Rob Ackley, Rick Savage and Chad Coleman are on the bubble. Matthew Moose, Jean Costa, Michael Johnson and Steve Sheehan are on the outside looking in. Look for Sheehan to jump up, possibly into the top ten when drops take place. All the other spots will come down to who finishes the season the strongest.
The championship is also completely up in the air. Look for current points leader Daley to fall late in the season. As of now, Daley does not have enough big weeks to win the championship. Look for the championship to come down to Davies, Alfalla, Berry and Hudson. Hudson is mired back in points, but has missed three weeks.
The next stop on the tour is a classic bullring. Track position will be key, as it always is extremely tough to pass at paper clip-shaped Martinsville.