NASCAR iRacing Series Round 3: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The ‘Diamond in the Desert’ hosted Week 3 of the 2014 NASCAR iRacing Series. The 1.5 mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the location for both the Fixed and Open setup online races this week, with just over 1500 sim-racers trying to prove they could be the best of the rest and score some valuable points against their competitors in the crucial opening part of this season.
The opening race of the Fixed setup action was the ideal place to be with the highest SoF race of the week (4946), as Paul Kusheba nailed the first win of the week with a nail-biting finish to clinch top points of the week (317). Kusheba edged-out Matt Bussa by .048s, one of the closest non-restrictor plate finishes the NASCAR iRacing Series has ever seen. Starting 14th and leading 73 laps of the race distance, Kusheba showed his racecraft against some of the best, including NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series regulars Bussa and Josh Berry, who both lead during the race. NASCAR iRacing Pro Series driver Brandon Chubirko came home in P3 scoring just under 300 points with his efforts.
Race Two produced a much lower points haul, meaning the top finishers couldn’t convert their race pace into points due to the 2987 SoF. Nonetheless Chance Crum came out on top, leading a healthy 100 laps and showing consistency is the key to success. Matthew Moose took second by .2s from Brian Perski after a hard fought battle.
The third race was the second Fixed race at Vegas to not see any black stripe drivers. The A-Class drivers seized the moment with Jordan Westfall scoring a great win, considering he didn’t lead the most laps of the race. That honor went to Jordan Werth, who led 60 of the 134 lap before slipping to a disappointing eleventh place finish. In contrast, Connor Anton and Brenden Koehler finished P2 and P3 respectively, with very solid points totals of 274 and 264.
The last race of the week saw many of the big names in the NASCAR iRacing Series such as NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series drivers Michael Conti and Byron Daley at the top of the leaderboard. However the race did not produce the high SoF necessary to gain the most points for the week. What it lacked in SoF it more than made up in excitement, as it was anyone’s race to win with five drivers leading at least one lap. In the end, it was Conti who took the turn into Victory Lane, having crossed the line with a .5s advantage over Malik Ray, who had the consolation of setting the fastest lap of the race. Finishing-off the podium was Dustin Montgomery, who is sure to continue scoring highly in the Fixed series.
In the Open races at LVMS it seemed pretty clear who would gain the most out of this week’s online action. NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series defending champion Tyler D Hudson took it to the rest of the field, being the first to take the checkered flag in two out of the three races over the week. Hudson won the highest SoF race which, as with the Fixed series, happened to be the first race of the week. Hudson fended-off PIR winner Jared Crawford to gain 392 points to add to his NASCAR iRacing Series campaign total. Although he led the most laps (94), Crawford was unable to stay ahead of Hudson in the final laps. Chad J Laughton continued his good form from Phoenix with a third place finish; however this was not to be his biggest points score of the week.
Race Two confirmed Laughton’s great Race One pace as he took the win in what could only be defined as a dominant drive from start-to-finish. Still, while Laughton led 111 of 134 laps, he edged-out Jarl Teien for the win by just .173s. Ray rounded-off the podium positions with a solid drive to capture 361 points in his first and top scoring Open race of the Las Vegas week.
The final Open race of the week ended in similar fashion to the first race of the week, with Hudson driving his Ford Fusion Gen-6 to Victory Lane. This time it was fellow NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Kenny Humpe who challenged Hudson all the way to the checkered flag, leading more laps (53) than the eventual winner (18). Despite coming-up one place short in his quest for victory, Humpe should not be dismayed considering he made his way through the pack to get his handy 367 points. Thomas Davis came home in P3, only .056s behind Humpe with Ray and iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series driver Teemu Iivonen rounding-out the top five.
After Week 3 of the NASCAR iRacing Series, the Fixed series championship standing has Dwayne Vincent atop the championship after three consistent weeks of racing, with NASCAR iRacing Pro Series driver Steven Gilbert moving up to P2 after some good results. Jared Mogard heads out the top three ahead of Jesse Atchison and Pro driver Justin Bolton. Top scorer at PIR Eugene Mozgunov did not participate in Week 3 action and thus slid down the standings 13th overall.
Tyler Hudson takes over the top spot in the Open series thanks to his successful run at Vegas with 1155 points, with Laughton just seven points shy of the championship leader. Conti continued his good form in Vegas, however he was demoted to third by the strong performances of Hudson and Laughton. Scandinavian sim-racer Teien and Jordy Lopez Jr swapped places in the championship while Crawford, who earned the most points at Phoenix in Week 2, continued to collect points at LVMS, putting him in seventh in the standings.
The shortest track on the NASCAR iRacing Series Calendar hosts Week 4 action: Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol is a favourite among many of the drivers and certainly presents challenges unknown to superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega. Will Hudson stay on top? Or will some of the underdogs of the NASCAR iRacing Series start mounting their championship challenges in Thunder Valley?
Make sure to check out iRacingNews next week to catch up on all of the action at Bristol.