February 8th, 2016 by Michael Chrobok
The iROC HPP Simulation Grand National Series thundered into the Pocono Mountains on Wednesday for 50 laps of sim racing action on Pennsylvania’s infamous 2.5-mile, three-turn “Tricky Triangle.” Although Brody Hays entered the race as the odds-on favorite, having won the last two events, a new face appeared in Victory Lane at the end of day: Josh Jones, driver of the ironically-speedy #40 Last Car Loaded Motorsports Chevrolet.
Jones made his presence felt in the Pocono garage area early on, blazing to the True Power Motor Oil Pole Award with a quick time of 55.856 seconds. When the green flag flew, and after an early caution for a single-car spin, Jones rocketed away from the rest of the field, opening up a two second gap over Dizzy Motorsports drivers Brody Hays and hometown hero Nick Kohan.
Green flag pit stops kicked off with 36 laps remaining, as Whitson Motorsports drivers Michael Chrobok, Gary Whitson, and Brian Yaczik brought their Chevrolets to the attention of their crews in successive laps. Leader Josh Jones peeled-off the track with 32 to go, putting four fresh tires on his Camaro and setting himself up for one final pit stop later in the event. Attempting to stretch his fuel mileage further than his competitors, Chris Ginn, in the #10 Ginn General Contractors Toyota, assumed command of the field after Jones pitted.
Ginn’s lead, however, was short-lived. The yellow flag waved with 28 laps remaining after Norm Pelletier’s #56 K7 Creations Toyota hit the turn three wall and caught air, an unfortunate accident that nonetheless gave his sponsors excellent (and quite fitting) television time. Ginn ducked to pit road, along with front-runners Kohan and Robert Barney, who both took two tires in order to gain track position. A miscue on the #00 team radio resulted in point leader Bryce Whitson staying out on old tires. Thus when the race went back to green, Whitson’s HPP Simulation Chevrolet was quickly gobbled up by the rest of the pack on fresh rubber, and local favorite Nick Kohan in the #21 Toyota jumped out to the lead.
A few laps later, Aaron Kleinhans and Ty Hester tangled off of turn three, triggering another caution. Race leader Kohan elected to pit, handing over the top spot to Purple Dino Racing’s Robert Barney in the #16 Ford. Shortly after the restart, with 16 laps remaining, a multi-car pileup occurred in the Tunnel Turn. Michael Cunic’s #34 Chevrolet got loose, clipping the nose of Gary Whitson’s Camaro and setting off a chain-reaction incident that caused Danny Rodgers in the #4 to catch some serious air. At the moment of caution, Josh Jones had retaken the top spot from Barney.
Jones survived the case of Yellow Fever that broke out in the closing laps, one that saw Jack Stroski, Louie Robinett, Michael Cunic, and Michael Chrobok all swept-up in incidents. A wreck on the Long Pond Straight between the #30 and #34 ended the race, securing Jones’ maiden victory in the HPP Simulation Grand National Series.
Nick Kohan finished in second followed by Robert Barney and Brian Yaczik. Christopher Ginn secured the fifth spot, in the process picking-up the M-SPEC Hard Charger of the Race Award for advancing 28 positions from his qualifying effort.
Brody Hays’ seventh place finish was good enough for him to take over the points lead. Bryce Whitson now trails Hays by just one point.
Next week, the HPP Simulation Grand National Series rolls into the Bluegrass State for the LouisvilleChevyDude.com 100 at the Kentucky Speedway. Be sure to tune-in Wednesday evening at 9 PM ET on iRacing Live (www.iracing.com/live) to catch the Global SimRacing Channel’s broadcast of the high-speed action!
Until then, visit RaceiROC.com for more information about the HPP Simulation Series and to get in on the competition that the iRacing Online Championship has to offer.