February 1st, 2016 by Ken Rodriguez
RICHMOND, VA — The iRacing Online Championship HPP Simulation Series made its way to Richmond International Raceway on Wednesday evening with the intent of further shaping the battle for the coveted title of “Grand National Champion” and HPP Pedals winner. When the smoke cleared after 125 laps of short-track, sim racing action, Brody Hays was back in Victory Lane.
Located in Henrico County of Richmond, Virginia, “RIR”, as it is affectionately known to sim racers, is a ¾ mile D-shaped oval and “Americas premier short track.” During early practice, drivers in the garage gave feedback to their race engineers about just how tight the track was driving. With track temperatures nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it is no wonder that sim racers were struggling with keeping the power down and their Camaros, Mustangs, and Camrys off the outside retaining walls. However, when it came down to showtime, it was the #6 Chevrolet Camaro of Will Warstler which sat atop the True Power Motor Oil qualifying pylon. Taking the number two spot was the #94 Chevy Camaro of SpeedWerx Racing Team driver Steven Whetten. Rounding out the top three qualifiers for the evening was series newcomer #21 Nick Kohan of Dizzy Motorsports, piloting his Toyota Camry.
With the starting order set and the grid loaded, it was time for 40 drivers to take to the short track and battle it out for 125 laps. This would prove to be grueling for some, blissful to others, and redemptive for a small number of drivers. Will Warstler brought the cars to the start/finish line and as the Race Marshall waved the green flag, the roaring sound of intensely powerful V8s came to life and filled the small Richmond stadium with the sweet sound of speed.
The race itself would prove to be a hotly contested event. In the early laps, the likes of Steve Whetten, Nick Kohan, Brian Yaczik, Jack Stroski, and Jonathan Holstein all vied for the coveted number one spot on the track and the bonus point that it brings for leading a lap.
The iROC drivers kept it clean and consistent for just over 11 laps as on lap 12, the caution flag flew for the first time as the #3 car of Ted Eminhizer got loose when he hit the brakes going into turn three and then spun. Eight more cautions would fly throughout the event, but this in no way diminished the competition, as drivers of the iROC virtual racing league battled intensely up and down the field.
In the end, when the checkered flag flew to signal the end of the race, it was none other than Brody Hays, in the #37 Toyota Camry, who would emerge victorious for the second straight week in this series. Given the level of competition of this sim racing league, it is an impressive accomplishment to score back to back W’s.
During the post-race interview, Hays was quoted as saying, “Throughout practices during the week, I felt that I had a good chance of going back to back. Missed a little bit in qualifying, took a bit of a conservative route but felt that if I just kept it methodical and consistent during the race, then I had a good shot at the win.”
And win he did for the second consecutive week.
Taking home the second finishing spot for the evening was Nick Kohan. Third went to Brian Yaczik of Whitson Motorsports. His teammate, Michael Chrobok, would end up finishing in fourth, while Robert Barney rounded out the top five and picked up the M-SPEC Hard Charger of the Race Award. Despite the cautions, door-slamming, fender-banging, and high flying acrobatics of others, this event was no doubt a success in terms of online racing competition, action, and excitement.
Next week, the drivers of the iROC HPP Simulation Grand National Series head to the mountains of Long Pond, Pennsylvania where they’ll tackle Pocono Raceway using world’s best racing game. Known as the “Tricky Triangle”, Pocono is a superspeedway with six, eight, and 14 degrees of banking on all three different corners. Be sure to tune in Wednesday evening at 9 PM ET on iRacing Live (www.iracing.com/live) to catch the Global SimRacing Channel’s broadcast of the high-speed action!
Until then, visit RaceiROC.com for more information about the HPP Simulation Series and to get in on all the action that the iRacing Online Championship has to offer.