Drafting played a big role in Week Nine of the iRacing.com Production Car Challenge’s visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Week Nine saw the iRacing.com Production Car Challenge series headed south to NASCAR territory and Charlotte Motor Speedway for the second time this season.  This 2.2 mile, twelve turn road configuration may look easy with its long banked straights but the infield poses technical challenges aplenty and many sim-racers call this track “the unknown” or “the wildcard” because anyone can win here with a drafting partner.

The Pontiac Solstice road to a championship has been a back and forth battle between three veteran sim-drivers who’ve combined for 2,945 starts, 1,905 top fives, 911 wins and multiple solstice championships in their careers.  A few weeks ago there was tie in the overall standings for the first time ever in iPCC history and Saturday found the Solstice points in another dead heat for a short time before one driver won the highest “SOF” race at Charlotte.

It has been quite the opposite scenario in the Mazda Roadster class, where any of the top ten drivers has a mathematical shot of winning the championship, while those who were a few races behind have caught up during the drop weeks of the season.

Inside the Numbers – Week 9 – Charlotte Road
229:   The number of drivers who started a race in the Mazda.
154:   The number of drivers who started a race in the Solstice.
67:     The number of Rookies who started a race in the Mazda.
52:     The number of Rookies who started a race in the Solstice.
10:     The number of Rookies who won a race in the Mazda.
4:       The number of Rookies who won a race in the Solstice.

The draft was the great equalizer between the Mazda Roadster and Pontiac Solstice.

Pontiac Solstice
Season Two Solstice champion Andrey Loginov (Central-Eastern Europe) who broke the tie earlier this season did it again this week.  Loginov qualified sixth with a 1:23.137 and claimed the top spot at Charlotte with 177 points by winning three of four online races from the pole.  This Week-P1 / Last Week-P1 / Points-1108.

Bryan J Miller (California) was one of the drivers a week behind but, after Charlotte road, has caught up to the rest of the field.  Miller qualified second at 1:22.882.  He also won three of four races from the pole and the 126 points he earned at CMS keeps him second overall in the standings this week.  This Week-P2 / Last Week-P2 / Points-1085.

Season three champion Lewis King (Mid-South) holds down the third spot overall.  He qualified eleventh (1:23.739) and he had two starts with no victories but the 118 points he collected was inside the top ten.  This Week-P3 / Last Week-P3 / Points-931.

Matt Dafoe shows how it’s done, picking-up a class win in Pontiac Solstice to claim the top spot in his division.

In Time Trial competition, Christoph Schon (DE-AT-CH) continued his perfect season by averaging 1:22.794 around the Charlotte r-oval while Bryan J Miller came up a tad short at 1:22.882 and Matthew Pilus (Texas) rounded-out the top three with a 1:22.901 respectively.

Notables- The “Ironman” award goes to Miroslav Juricek (Central-Eastern Europe) who won 25 of 44 races.  Chris Hughson (New York) returned to the series in (predictably) strong style, winning five of six races and claiming 133 points for fourth place this week.

Mazda Roadster
Joao Dario (Iberia) lost the overall point lead a few weeks ago but reclaimed the top spot by qualifying sixth at 1:22.189, winning two of three races and taking 141 points, good for second best of the week.  This Week-P1 / Last Week-P2 / Points-968.

Paul Knight (UK and I) dropped one spot in the Tar Heel state.  He qualified fourth with a 1:22.064, won two of ten starts and earned 114 points, good for  fifth best this week at Charlotte.  This Week-P2 / Last Week-P1 / Points-956.

Yoeri Flossie (Benelux) was quite busy at Charlotte by qualifying fifth with a 1:22.134, he won four of twelve races and scored 112 points, good for eighth place this week.  This Week-P3 / Last Week-P3 / Points-875.

Slowing from 120 mph while threading the needle into Turn One is easier said than done.

Time Trials saw Flossie continue running strongly, taking top honors with a quick 1:22.184 average around CMS.  Yoann Sarzynski (France) finished second with a 1:22.497 ahead of DE-AT-CH’s Christoph Burmann (1:23.060).

Notables- Once again the “Iron-Man” award in Mazda goes to Kevin Lewis (New England) for winning 19 of 20 races for 135 points, third best this week.  Henning Cordes (DE-AT-CH) won six races in Solstice then came over to the Mazda class and won four of six races for fourth place.

Check back with iRacing News when the iPCC series returns to Summit Point for the fourth and final time of the season.  There are only three weeks left before the checkered flag waves on 2013 Season 4.

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