Kenny Humpe kicked off the second half of the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing with a familiar result as he picked-up yet another win, this time at Michigan International Speedway. The victory was Humpe’s fifth and The TEAM’s sixth in nine races. Tyler Hudson from One Up Motorsports was second, followed by Humpe’s teammate Chad Laughton. Casey Tucker (Last Row Motorsports) and polesitter Corey Vincent (PMG) rounded out the top five.
The race came down to Humpe, who had the better long run car, and Vincent, who was extremely quick on a short sprint and led a race-high 57 laps as he controlled the pace early on. In the end, track position was worth more than pure speed and Humpe found himself out in the clean air after taking the lead from Vincent on Lap 76. Shortly after Humpe took the point the leaders all headed for pit road under green for tires and fuel but a caution in the middle of the round of stops gave everyone a chance to catch their breath and bunch the pack.
When the race went back to green on Lap 96, Humpe barely got settled in at the front before yet another yellow slowed the pace. While most of the front-runners stayed out, Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) brought his Ford down to pit road for fresh tires, hoping the race would go green to the end. Unfortunately for Alfalla, that was not the case.
On the ensuing restart, Brandon Schmidt and Chris Overland were locked in a three wide battle with Justin Bolton as they headed toward Turn Three. Schmidt could not hold the bottom line off of Turn Four and sparked a massive crash when he made contact with Bolton. The rest of the field went scattering into the grass and while most emerged unscathed Alfalla was not so lucky. As the field checked-up for the wreck, Alfalla got hit from behind and made hard contact with the outside wall which resulted in a DNF and thirty-third place finish.
While the wreck was unfortunate for some, Vincent found himself in second place after the smoke cleared and prepared to attack Humpe on the restart. Humpe, however, was not to be denied and very well may have been holding a little back earlier in the race. Vincent could only watch as Humpe raced away into the distance; indeed Vincent lost three spots over the final laps as his car seemed to lack the speed it showed early on.
Yet another win, combined with Alfalla’s poor finish, enabled Humpe to further pad his massive lead in the championship standings. His margin to Alfalla now stands at 110 points, or well over two races worth. The battle for second is much tighter with Chad Laughton sitting just two points behind Alfalla and a dozen in front of Patrick Crabtree (High Performance Motorsports). Overland still bookends the top five despite being involved in a wreck but is only four points ahead of Bryan Blackford.
With Michigan completed NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series drivers are looking forward to their month-long summer break. The series goes on a four week hiatus before resuming at Kentucky Speedway. The “summer vacation” will give teams time to work on setups in hopes of catching The TEAM, which has had a stranglehold on the series all year long. Of course, you can bet The TEAM will be hard at work testing as well to keep their advantage. Will Kentucky bring change, or will Humpe still be the man to beat? Find out when the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze visits the Bluegrass State on July 14!