Kenny Humpe continued his early-season dominance of the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing by winning his third race of the young season at Richmond International Raceway. The Richmond was the most impressive of the three, with Humpe pacing the field for every lap save for a scoring mix-up under caution. A flurry of late-race cautions bunched the field and gave the drivers behind a shot at stealing a victory but Humpe was simply unbeatable.
Patrick Crabtree finished second and had a few good shots at Humpe on restarts but never could hang close enough to attempt a pass. Ray Alfalla was third, continuing his strong start to the season. Ryan Lowe and Taylor Hurst rounded out the top five, the first such result in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series for both sim racers.
Humpe captured the pole by a scant .006s over Cody Byus with the top 19 cars all turning times within a tenth of the pole. These close times naturally lead one to assume the race would be close as well, but it was not to be. When the green flag flew Humpe quickly sprinted to a one second lead just nine laps into the running.
With machine-like consistency Humpe kept extending his lead: Half a tenth one lap, a full tenth the next. By the time the first yellow flag flew on Lap 56 for Alex Warren’s spin, Humpe had put four seconds between himself and second place Alfalla.
The leaders headed to pit road for the first time and Humpe won the race off and quickly got back to business, re-building his gap. By Lap 119, the end of the second long run of the race, Humpe was once again comfortably ahead of the field, this time pulling a gap of nearly three seconds on Crabtree.
As often happens at Richmond, the race changed drastically in the second half. The first 130 laps were rather tame but the last 70 had more than their share of action and crashes. After an extended caution due to a scoring glitch the race went green with 66 laps to go but it would not stay green for long. In all, half a dozen cautions waved in the last 66 laps, the last of which had seriously implications for Chad Laughton who came into the event second in the series standings.
As the field came to three laps to go, Laughton was running fourth just behind Crabtree and Alfalla when the three got together in the middle of Turns Three and Four. While both Crabtree and Alfalla continued unharmed, the contact forced Laughton’s car to the apron which broke his momentum. This allowed PJ Stergios to get a run on Laughton off Turn Four and Stergios went for the pass down low. However, Laughton either blocked too aggressively or did not realize Stergios was alongside of him and the two made contact sparking a huge crash involving several cars. Laughton would finish, but all the way back in twenty-ninth position.
Humpe’s win bolstered his NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series championship lead, which now stands at 30 points over Alfalla. Laughton’s crash dropped him to third in the standings, 42 back of Humpe, while Crabtree and Justin Bolton are in a dead heat for fourth, six additional points behind Laughton.
With the series approaching the one-third mark only three drivers are still within one race of Humpe’s point total. It is a display of dominance never before seen in the NASCAR PEAK Antiifreeze Series. As the series heads to Pocono, Humpe will be looking to keep building on his points lead while the rest of the field searches for answers. Will someone have a breakthrough at the Tricky Triangle or will Humpe continue his unprecedented dominance? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive and MRN.com!