It appears iRacing Pro Series Oval (iPSO) drivers were well aware that the Fast Track program was to be implemented with the start of the regular series’ Season 4. For the most part, it appears the threat of being demoted to a blue stripe is working as intended.

The Fast Track program is a new feature of the iRacing Service which seeks to promote clean racing by penalizing drivers of all license levels who drive too aggressively, incurring incidents in the process. Rather than waiting until the end of the season to administer demotions, the penalty is applied at the point a driver’s safety rating (SR) drops below a 1.0. The program also provides drivers with a faster path to the upper tier license levels provided they drive safely and earn safety ratings of 4.0 for a given license.

One point of contention has been the loss of Pro License and whether it would be for an entire year or if a driver could be re-instated and move back up.

“The incentives for good driving are both positive and negative,” says Dave Kaemmer, iRacing’s CEO.  “Drivers whose safety ratings drop below 1.0 at any point during a season, including participants in the Pro Series, will be demoted a lower license level. This is a pretty serious penalty for a Pro license holder; they will have to improve their A level license to a 4.0 safety rating and only then will be automatically reinstated.”

I point this out because there seems to have been quite a bit of confusion about this issue in the forums.

Whether you like the idea of the Fast Track program or not it does seem to be cleaning up the racing we’re seeing in the iPSO. If you dislike the idea, just keep in mind that all you have to do is drive safely, otherwise you may be calling it the Fast Whack program.  Keep in mind, that while the Fast Track program has a lot to do with the recent declines in the number of incidents, we must consider the fact that these drivers are finally beginning to get comfortable driving around cars of similar speed.

The iPSO action at Lowes was close but clean.

The iPSO action at Lowes Motor Speedway was close but clean.

Friday – Round 2

The racing in the iPSO has been quite clean of late, and Friday morning’s race at Lowes Motor Speedway was no exception.  There were only 41 incidents between the 25 entrants (1.64 inc./car). This continues the overall decline in incidents we have been seeing in these races. Please give Kudos to our Pro Series drivers in the comments below.  Now, for the run-down…

Luke McLean took the win 1.469 seconds ahead of second place finisher Chris Main. McLean led 32 of the 110 laps on his way to his second win of the season and seventh top 5.

“[I wanted to] take it really easy at the beginning and let the car do the work,” said McLean when asked about his pre-race strategy.

It must have worked (but) it wasn’t all roses. McLean had some tough competition in Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and others. A late-race caution tightened up the field and forced McLean to work a little harder for the win.

“Don’t like it much,” McLean responded when asked if he liked the track and added, “I’d like to thank Team Redline and Friends.”

A man of few words…

Main crossed the line in second for his seventh top five of the season and only 1.469 seconds from notching his first win of the season. Oh, the agony!

“Try not to go into the turns too hard,” said Main, “which is what I’ve been doing in practice laps.

“I was going to short pit two times,” he recounted, “and ended up slowing down to pit, but there’s either a car spinning or the yellow comes out, so I’m lucky I didn’t pit…woulda been real bad. After that, plan was to work my way back to the front after getting dropkicked to the rear.”

Justin Garrett came across the line in third for his eighth top five this season. He currently resides 13th in the overall points. Garrett was unavailable for driver interviews.

Richard Towler came in a strong fourth for his 11th top five of the season. Towler was reluctant to even start this race due to having no practice in. When asked whether he’d practiced this week, Towler responed, “Nothing at all; first lap was in practice just before the race, a friend twisted my arm.”

Put a feather in his cap.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. During a race earlier in the week, Earnhardt, Jr. was involved in an incident, forcing him to run Friday morning. He didn’t spend much time practicing since he’d run earlier in the week.

“[I] set my alarm clock for 7am and chugged an AMP,” he said.

Asked if  this race was better than the one he ran earlier in the week, “A. Horn slid into me once but it was hard racing,” Earnhardt, Jr. recounted, “that sent me to about 8th with 4 laps to go.”

As they crossed the line, the top 10 were McLean (318 points) taking the win with Main (304) in second. Garrett (291) had a strong third place finish followed by Towler (278) in fourth and Earnhardt, Jr. (265) in fifth, rounding-out the top five. Kevin King (251) came home sixth, Brian Schoenburg (238) seventh, and Alexander Horn (225) eighth. Rounding-out the top ten, Marcus Caton (212) crossed the line in ninth with Jayson Anderson (198) just behind.

Notable stats:
Strength of Field:        5086
Total Incidents:         41
Avg. Incidents / Entry:     1.64
Avg. Lap Time:        36.733
Cautions:            3
Caution Laps:            12
Lead Changes:            10
Cars on lead Lap:        21

Sunday – Round 4

Sunday’s running was not the cleanest race as of late, but it was still much-improved over some of the iPSO’s earlier incident-fests. If you remove the two drivers with the most incidents from the equation (a total of 27 incidents), we come up with 48 incidents at 2.28 per entry, so not too bad over all.  The rundown…

Greger Huttu earned his fifth win of the season in dominating fashion as he continues his climb up the standings. Huttu currently holds 13th in the overall standings with 2912 points. Huttu beat the field by 11.363 seconds and led 93 of the 110 laps.  Derek Cash drove his fourth top five of the season, finishing second. Cash, who currently holds sixty-fifth position in the overall standings, was unavailable for comment in driver interviews.

Vinnie Sansone scored a third place finish for Club Italy and his second top five of the season. Sansone now holds forty-sixth in the overall standings and, like Cash, was unavailable for comment in driver interviews. Greg Spears was fifth one better than Matteo Bortolotti, who gained a couple places in the final few laps after running a sensible race strategy.

“I let faster drivers pass easily to avoid problems” he said.  “During the race I decided to pit when I was losing too much time because of slower cars ahead.”

As they crossed the line, the top 10 were Huttu (263 points) taking the win with Cash (249) in second. Sansone (236) had a strong third place finish followed by Jordan Erickson (223) in fourth and Greg Spears (210) in fifth, rounding out the top 5. Matteo Bortolotti (197) came home sixth, Kyle Hadcock (184) seventh, and Martin Thiemt (170) in eighth. Rounding out the top 10, Richard Crozier (157) crossed the line in ninth with Scott Michaels (164) just behind in tenth.

Notable stats:
Strength of Field:        4207
Total Incidents:         75
Avg. Incidents / Entry:     3.57
Avg. Lap Time:        36.482
Cautions:            3
Caution Laps:            11
Lead Changes:            9
Cars on lead Lap:        11

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