The need for collision repair over the last two weeks put a strain many of the iRacing Pro Series (iPSO) drivers and their virtual pit crews; would Texas be more of the same? With iRacing introducing the new Fast Track program, perhaps the quality of racing in the iPSO would improve.
The Fast Track program is a new feature of the iRacing Service which penalizes drivers of all license levels who race too aggressively incurring incidents as a result. Rather than waiting until the end of the season to administer demotions, the penalty is now 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 maintain SRs above a 1.0 for that license level.
With the Fast Track program in the back of their minds, would this rein-in some of the incidents and overly aggressive driving the Pro Series has seen as of late? Let’s find out.
Friday – Round 2
It appears some of the Pro Drivers have found Jaxx Motorsports Series Coffee to their liking as the Friday, 8:00am running of the iPSO had one of the largest fields for a Friday in quite some time with 27 cars entering the race. A lot of big names made the show, with John Prather, Thomas Hazard, Tyler Hudson and others pushing the strength of the field up to 4969. (Unfortunately, Prather never made the first lap due to a disconnection.) The quality of racing seen in the Friday running of the iPSO was exceptionally clean. There were only 56 incidents between the 27 entrants (2.0 inc./car) making it one of the cleanest races of the season when looking strictly at the numbers. Even more impressive was the fact that the race went green with no cautions. Everyone, let’s give our Pro Series drivers a hand for laying down a good race the way it should be done at that level!
Now, for the run-down…
Thomas Lewandowski had a dominating performance by winning with an interval of 12.320 ahead of second place Alexander Horn. Lewandowski, who was unavailable for driver interviews, also lead 71 of the 110 laps on his way to his fourth win of the season and currently holds a solid twenty-first position in the overall point standings in only 10 starts. Second-placed Horn notched his seventh top five of the season. He currently sits in 10th in the overall point standings. Horn got a little satisfaction this week as he was able to finish seven seconds ahead of his Black Magic Motorsports Teammate, Tyler Hudson who finished 4th. Like the winner, Horn was unavailable during driver interviews.
Hazard took home the final podium position with zero laps led, an unusual occurrence for Hazard. He currently resides in twenty-sixth in the overall standings while only having run nine of the eleven weeks thus far. Look for Hazard to continue his climb up the standings as the season progresses.
Crossing the line, the top 10 were Lewandowski (311 points) from Horn (299), Hazard (287) and Hudson (275) with Josh Parker (263) in fifth, rounding-out the top five. Justin Trombly (251) came home sixth, Daniel Willis (239) seventh, and Jesse Atchison (227) eighth. Completing the the top 10, Andrew Fayash III (215) crossed the line in ninth just ahead of Richard Towler (203).
Strength of Field: 4969
Total Incidents: 56
Avg. Incidents / Entry: 2.0
Avg. Lap Time: 30.706
Caution Laps: 0
Lead Changes: 5
Cars on lead Lap: 8
Sunday – Round 4
If Friday’s race was clean, then Sunday’s races were squeaky clean. It is too early to know if the Fast Track program has had any influence on the behavior and decision making going on behind the wheel, but at a track which can be somewhat treacherous late in a run, things couldn’t have looked better on paper.
The quality of racing seen in the Sunday running of the iPSO was exquisite. There were only 50 incidents between the 22 entrants (1.88 inc. / car) in the first split while split two only had 34 incidents between 22 entrants (1.54 inc. / car). Again, let’s give our Pro Series drivers a hand for laying down two great races!
Now, for the Sunday run-down…
Brad Davies came home with his ninth win of the iPSO season continuing his dominating performance. Davies currently holds a 228 point lead over Brian Schoenburg in the overall standings and it doesn’t look like he will be letting up any time soon.
“I couldn’t run as hard at the beginning of the second run after the adjustment,” said Davies, “but it helped me quite a bit towards the end of the race.”
Josh Berry drove to another solid top five, finishing second. Berry currently holds eighth position in the overall standings but was unavailable for comment in driver interviews.
Luke McLean scored a third place finish for the Aussies and his sixth top five of the season. McLean now holds forty-fifth in the overall standings.
“Great clean race,” he said. “Brad was extremely impressive at the end, blowing everyone away. Grats to Josh as well!”
Further down the order, eleventh placed Jordan Hightower had some colorful comments about his setup.
“I wanna thank the Jordan Hightower Driving Experience for putting the [expletive] setup underneath me.”
And on that note…
As they crossed the line, the top 10 were Davies (288 points) taking the win with Berry (274) in second. McLean (260) had a strong third place finish followed by John Gorlinsky (246) in fourth and Joshua Christman (233) rounded-out the top five. Martin Thiemt (219) came home sixth, Jay Osborne (205) seventh, and Jake Swanson (192) in eighth. Rounding out the top 10, Dave Hoffman (178) crossed the line in ninth with Dana Wymer (164) just behind.
Strength of Field: 4609
Total Incidents: 50
Avg. Incidents / Entry: 1.88
Avg. Lap Time: 30.649
Caution Laps: 0
Lead Changes: 7
Cars on lead Lap: 7
Greger Huttu claimed the win in the second split for his fourth win of the iPSO season in ten starts. Huttu dominated the day by leading 70 of the 110 laps. Consistency is Huttu’s strong suit and it currently has him seventeenth in the overall standings. Huttu was unavailable for comment on his most recent win.
Ray Alfalla grabbed a strong second place finishing just .163 behind Huttu, while third was a case of déjà vu with Hazard finishing 3rd, occupying the same position in Friday’s running but with fewer points. After starting on the pole, Alfalla lead 24 of the 110 laps.
When asked about the last few laps, Alfalla replied, “Greger, Thomas and I were going at it pretty hard [for the last 10 laps].” Alfalla had also expressed regret for hitting Huttu on a restart earlier in the race.
As the checkered flag, it was Huttu (289 points), Alfalla (275) and Hazard (261) followed by Matt Sentell (247) and Chris Main (233). Jim Moore (220) came home sixth, Vinnie Sansone (206) seventh, and Derek Cash (192) eighth with Rob Ackley (178) and Jeff Dukehart (165) completing the top ten.
Strength of Field: 4618
Total Incidents: 34
Avg. Incidents / Entry: 1.54
Avg. Lap Time: 34.347
Caution Laps: 7
Lead Changes: 10
Cars on lead Lap: 9