Tyler Hill had been a model of consistency through the first six rounds of the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series with top ten finishes in every race. With so many finishes near the front it seemed only a matter of time before Hill sealed the deal with a win. That time came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the seventh race of the season.
Hill did not have the fastest car, but he hung around the front most of the evening, made no mistakes, and took the win away from Tyler Hudson, passing the former NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion with just three laps remaining. Hudson had been leading since just after the two returned to the track from their final pit stops, but never could build much of a gap over Hill, who appeared to be biding his time. He attacked with four to go, clearly having the faster car. Despite his best effort, Hudson was unable to repel Hill’s attack and settled for second.
Corey Vincent was third, followed by Rob Ackley who had an extremely strong run late in the race to finish fourth ahead of the always-consistent Kevin King.
The two leaders had broken away from the field after the last round of pit stops, which took place under the green flag. However, the breakaway was less a function of outright speed than the result of a mistake by Vincent during his pit stop that put him nearly eight seconds behind the leaders with not near enough laps to catch back up. Even though he hung on for third, it must be bitterly disappointing for Vincent to know he has had the fastest car for all three 1.5 mile tracks and only could manage a single victory.
Vincent’s had been the dominant car for much of the evening, a theme that has become quite common on the 1.5 mile tracks this season. He once again started from the pole and was the class of the field, leading a race-high 93 of 167 laps. At times more than a tenth of a second faster a lap than his nearest competitors, Vincent appeared to be on the way to his second victory of the season when he overshot his pit box during the green flag stops.
The early part of the race was a bit chaotic, with some over-ambitious moves leading to major crashes and several damaged race cars. The sim racing did clean up past the halfway point, but not before nearly half the field had suffered some sort of crash damage. By the checkered flag only fifteen cars were still on the lead lap and just twenty-eight were running at the finish.
One of the crashes also proved to be bad luck for some contenders who caught an unlucky break on pit road. Patrick Crabtree and Richard Dusett both appeared to have top five cars but were trapped a lap down when Taylor Hurst ran over Brandon Hauck when he was attempting to make a pit stop. Crabtree and Dusett took the wave around to get back on the lead lap but could never recover their lost track position and finished tenth and fifteenth, respectively.
The win helped Hill build a bit on his points lead heading into the winter holiday break. He now leads by five points over Hudson and nine over King. Vincent is fourth but has dropped 30 points back, 12 markers ahead of Trey Eidson, who was caught-up in an early crash.
After a two week break the series will conclude with a three race stretch beginning at Dover International Raceway. With time running out in the season, Vincent and will have to be on top of his game if either hopes to challenge Hill, Hudson, and King for the series crown. Will Vincent close the gap with a win, or will the top three continue to distance themselves from the rest of the field? Find out when the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series resumes on January 6, 2015 on LSRTV!