Monroe, Connecticut’s Paul Kusheba held serve in week 10 of the PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series and moved one step closer to the coveted season-ending prize of a spot in the 2014 PEAK Stock Car Dreams Challenge driver combine conducted by Michael Waltrip Racing. Although Kusheba’s points for the tenth week won’t count toward his overall total, it did him no harm as his closest pursuers in the championship skipped the week’s sim-racing at half-mile Irwindale Speedway.
Kusheba entered the week with a 66 point lead over Ray Alfalla and an 87 point advantage on third place, Byron Daley. Although many of the top drivers were missing for the week, Kusheba could not take advantage. Despite winning the week’s top race, the 131 points he earned at Irwindale represented his lowest haul of the season and therefore, would not factor into his overall total.
The week’s feature race took place on Sunday night at 7:45pm, with a Strength of Field of 2068. Kusheba started from the pole with Kyle Heckman on his outside and went on to lead all 70 laps to take a 2.257 second win over Heckman. Hunter Sego, Justin M Allen, and Brandon Atkinson rounded-out the top five finishers. Kusheba set the fastest lap of the race turning the 1/2-mile oval in 18.085 seconds and, later in the week, scored another flag-to-flag win in a close battle with Division Two points leader, Wesley Wilborn.
If Kusheba continues on to win this season’s championship, his performance on the schedule’s short tracks will be what earned him the title.
“I was really excited for Irwindale because it was back to the short tracks.” – Paul Kusheba
“I was really excited for Irwindale because it was back to the short tracks which is my strength,” said Kusheba. “I had a real fun race with Kyle (Heckman) in my top split, but unfortunately there weren’t any high enough strength of fields to beat any of my other eight weeks, so this was a drop week for me. I’m really looking forward to South Boston next week, but the season-ending race week in Charlotte is going to be very interesting.”
Kusheba split the top total for Week 10 with Alex Kan, who also earned 131 points. Division 4 driver, Matthew L Meech tied for third place with Logan Seavey scoring 124 points. Christopher Bell’s 123 points rounded-out the top five for the week.
Although 11th for the week with 118 points, Michael Laraia picked-up five wins in eight starts leading 278 of the 560 laps turned for the week. Rookie driver, Dean Heldt logged 690 laps in 11 starts.
With pro drivers Alfalla and Daley taking the week off, Kusheba was able to maintain his 66-point lead heading into the final two weeks of the season. Tyler Hill is a distant fourth place, having only run seven races to date, while Division 2 leader Wesley Wilborn holds the overall fifth place spot in the standings.
Division winners in week 10 at the Irwindale Speedway were: 1 – Paul Kusheba 131 (New England). 2 – Wesley Wilborn 122 (Georgia). 3 – Austin Stamper 113 (Florida). 4 – Matthew L Meech 124 (California). 5 – Hunter Sego 118 (West). 6 – Carl Stange 93 (Plains). 7 – Trevor Arvidson 84 (California). 8 – Derek Edwards 81 (Carolina). 9 – Matthew Catania 96 (Carolina). 10 – Tim Allen 55 (Carolina). Rookie – Jorg Beutner 77 (DE-AT-CH).
Division leaders at press time are as follows: 1 – Paul Kusheba 1660 (New England). 2 – Wesley Wilborn 1257 (Georgia). 3 – Kyle Heckman 1182 (California). 4 – Lewis King 857 (Mid-South). 5 – Shawn Baisden 682 (Ohio). 6 – Carl Stange 647 (Plains). 7 – Bill Rowlands 537 (Atlantic). 8 – Derek Edwards 586 (Carolina). 9 – David Warhurst 425 (Georgia). 10 – Tim Allen 469 (Carolina). Rookie – Jeremy Canute 580 (New York).
If Kusheba can pull-out another strong showing in Week 11 at South Boston, he could put the clamps on the championship before the season-ending race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They don’t get much shorter than the tiny oval in South Boston, Virginia and that is where the PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series heads next. The historic .4-mile oval should be right in Kusheba’s wheelhouse and if he can keep his car out front and avoid the dangers of lapped traffic, he should head to Charlotte with an extended points lead.
The PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series offers one iRacer the chance of a lifetime: a reserved seat in the 2014 PEAK Stock Car Dreams Challenge driver combine conducted by Michael Waltrip Racing in June. The seat will be awarded to the overall winner of the PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series, an official twelve week series featuring the Chevrolet Impala SS stock car. The winner must be at least 16 years of age, reside in the United States and be able to safely enter and exit a racecar. In addition, every iRacer who displays a PEAK logo on their Impala and competes in at least one race in all twelve weeks of the PEAK Stock Car Dreams National Series is eligible to win an Obutto r3volution chassis and one of 50 custom PEAK /iRacing hats.