With only two weeks left in the first annual NASCAR iRacing Series Tyler D Hudson is looking to become not only the series’ first champion, but the first sim-racer to sweep all of the big NASCAR Series on iRacing after taking home the NASCAR iRacing.com World Championship Series last month. Hudson came into the week at Phoenix International Raceway with a 858 point lead over second place Landon Harrison. With the championship all but locked-up for Hudson, the closest battle at the top of the points coming into PIR was the contest for third between Jordan Westfall who is 99 points ahead of fourth place Kyle McCormick.
The first online race of the week saw Darrel Wilson grab Thursday night’s pole with Matt Bussa starting on his outside. From the drop of the green flag the race was a two car battle between the two front row starters. With Wilson leading 142 Laps, it looked like he would pick up and easy win in Race 1 for the second week in a row. But Bussa had other plans and was able to make a move late in the race to take the win, despite leading just a dozen laps. As Hudson, Harrison and Westfall skipped Race 1, the biggest gainer in points was McCormick who came home P18.
After an off day on Friday, the series was back in action on Saturday with Races 2 and 3 on tap. The first race of the day started with Matthias Orth on pole with Thomas J George starting on the outside of the front row. The first part of the race saw Orth and George battling for the lead with Kevin Scholefield. But as their cars started to fall off George, was able to hold the lead for a few laps before Julien Oligo moved into contention. Oligo, who started from the fifth spot, took his time getting to the lead, but once he got there he set sail. Fast and consistent, Oligo saved his car for the end but wound-up leading107 Laps to win Race 2.
A few hours Oligo’s win, it was time to go green in Race 3 of the week. Simon Crochart was the wheelman who grabbed the third pole of the week with Brian V Macklin to his outside. What’s more, Crochart wasted no time in opening up a sizeable lead on the field before series vet and third fastest qualifier Jordan Werth reeled him in and took the lead. Once out front, Werth kept his car under him for the rest of the race leading 122 Laps and taking the win from Crochart and Ryan Lowe. Among the points leaders, Hudson was the only competitor to compete in Race 3 and he was rewarded with a fourth place finish.
Sunday night was the last night of NiS online racing at PIR Phoenix with Bussa taking the pole with Westfall on his outside and looking to consolidate third place in the standings. From the start, Bussa picked-up right where he left off in Race 1, grabbing the lead from the start and staying out front until the field pitted under yellow on Lap 116. Hudson grabbed the lead on pit road and never looked back, grabbing the win over Michael Conti, Danny Hansen and Malik Ray, with Bussa tumbling down the order to P10 at the checkered flag.
Although Harrison had a good race himself, finishing fifth, it was far too little, too late to prevent Hudson from locking-up the NiS crown to go alongside his 2013 NiSWC title. But if the battle for the overall championship was settled at PIR, third place is still too close to call heading to the season finale as McCormick finished P12 on Sunday, with Westfall a distant P20. The two-some will settle the battle for the final step of the inaugural NiS podium at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.