While some of the top iRacing Pros turned their attention to the start of the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series at Daytona, Week Four of the iRacing.com PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series saw the series regulars push back to the top of the points standings. Paul Kusheba, who held the led in the early weeks of the series, reclaimed the top spot four races into the scheduled 12 events.
In addition to iRacing’s top series kicking off, many drivers opted out because of 1/2-mile terror that is know as Bristol Motor Speedway. The 30-degree banking coupled with the high speed 15-second laps makes Bristol one of the most challenging tracks on the planet, both in the real and virtual world.
After a week of beating and banging, New England’s Jake Poulin pulled down the top spot with 179 points in Tuesday night’s 6:45pm race. The flag- to-flag win gave Poulin a one-point advantage over Virgina’s Kris Kelley for the week in Thunder Valley. Pro racer Byron Daley finished third for the week three points back while Kusheba was five points back in fourth. Ethan Lane rounded-out the top five at Bristol, seven points behind Poulin.
“Bristol has always been one of my favorite tracks for this series,” said Poulin. “Ever since the series started running back in 2012, I’ve been contending for wins here. The keys for me this week were to start on the pole and never look back, getting through lapped traffic smoothly and missing the wrecks. My week wasn’t all success though. I had a couple embarrassing moments including wrecking myself out of the lead on lap two in one of my races.”
“The keys for me were to start on the pole and never look back, getting through lapped traffic smoothly and missing the wrecks.” – Jake Poulin
Poulin started four races at Bristol earning two wins and three poles. Of the top-25 drivers, Wesley Wilborn earned four wins in eight starts, good for 155 fourth place points. Eric Barnes got the “Dizzy Bat” award turning 1274 laps around the .533-mile oval in 19 starts.
His solid performance at Bristol — coupled with some of the top drivers sitting-out the week — enabled Kusheba to open-up a 39-point lead over Daley atop the standings. Tyler Hill took advantage of the absences to move up to third place 120 points back while absent pros Michael Conti and Ray Alfalla dropped to fourth and fifth, 153 and 155 points back respectively.
“The series has been really fun so far.”, said Kusheba. “I definitely have to thank iRacing and Peak for putting on this series because it puts me up against some great competition. Racing against people like Ray Alfalla and other DWC drivers of that caliber on these tight short tracks is really a blast, and it feels good to be on top right now 1/3rd of the way through the season.”
“Racing against people like Ray Alfalla and other DWC drivers of that caliber on these tight short tracks is really a blast.” — Paul Kusheba
Non-Pro drivers now hold down six of the top-ten spots in the overall standings:
Division winners for Bristol week were: 1 – Jake Poulin 179 (New England) 2 – Kris Kelley 178 (Virginas) 3 – Lee Ball 166 (Carolina) 4 – Lewis King 126 (Mid-South) 5 – Shawn Baisden 98 (Ohio) 6 – Shawn Powell 100 (Carolina) 7 – George Bark 86 (New Jersey) 8 – Derek Edwards 94 (Carolina) 9 – Daniel E Eberhardt 86 (Georgia) 10 – Richie Bryan 66 (Florida) Rookie – Kenneth Walker2 84 (Pennsylvania).
For Week Five, the series heads north to Connecticut for more short-track banging at Thompson International Speedway. 50 hard laps await sim-racers in the PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series and their Chevrolet Impalas. Although a littler longer than Bristol at .625 miles, Thompson’s banking is much less severe and the competition should be every bit as challenging.