It’s pretty hard to beat the numbers put up on the board by Mark Lambert in the first two weeks of the iRacing.com Late Model Tour. After all, Lambert has started eleven races in the two weeks and has won in all eleven of those starts! To add to that, when all the dust settled from the first two weeks of sim racing at Lanier National and South Boston Speedways, Lambert held the lead in the standings in a highly competitive series that saw nearly a thousand sim racers take to the virtual asphalt for each of the first two rounds of the series.
While Lambert won seven races during the first week at Lanier, the amount of races and strength of field in those races affected his point position in the standings. He only obtained 140 points over the week while Wide Open Racing’s Taylor Meyn sat atop the standings at the completion of the first round of racing. His 174 point performance came in a 2797 Strength of Field race on February 6th in which he went to victory lane in the 65-lap affair at Lanier. Meyn led 28 laps after starting third en route to the win over pole sitter Maxime Paquette, who led the most circuits in the event with 37. Third in the race belonged to Rick Ricketts with Thomas Fraser and Kyle Crump completing the top five.
One of the top split races of the week took place on February 2nd when Trevor Edwards went to victory lane in a 2961 SoF rendezvous at Lanier. Edwards started on the pole and led wire-to-wire in the race, finishing ahead of Brian Macklin, Ricketts, Brandon Hauck and Brad Mahar. The margin of victory was 4.7 seconds. Edwards went on to make three other starts and would wind up fifth overall for the week with 153 points while Macklin’s performance in this race vaulted him to second place overall for the week with 166 points.
Completing the podium at Lanier for Round One was Tony Dugan. The Dynasty Motorsports driver collected 165 points in a 2670 SoF race on the first night of the new season. He led the final 54 laps of the race, crossing the line over five seconds ahead of Benjamin Harste. Nick Ladyga was third, followed by Heath Smith (who led the first eleven laps of the race) and Jeremy Ahlum.
Fausto Bessa Gomes was the top driver when it came to the win column for the week, earning eight wins at Lanier. Eric Kocher made the most starts of the week with 15. Smith was the top driver in qualifying for the week with a 13.504 second lap, which was quicker than Lambert, Trey Jarrell, Paul Kusheba and Richie Davidowitz. Smith was also the quickest in the Time Trial competition at Lanier over Lambert, Gary Dangelo, Doug Heveron and Jarrid Boiros.
When it comes to South Boston Speedway in Round Two, Lambert lit the lamp four times and finished atop the weekly standings. His big win came on February 12th in which he went to victory lane after leading wire-to-wire in a 3074 SoF event. Lambert crossed the line first, eight seconds up on Scott Heckert with Johnny Vaughan, Macklin and Ricketts completing the top five in the 65-lap race. When Lambert’s other top finish was factored into his point picture, he would wind up the week with 185 points. Heckert’s 172 point outing in this race was good enough for the Connecticut native to lock down second place overall for the week.
On the podium for this week of racing was Johnny Housley. Housley went to victory lane on February 11th in a 2729 SoF race and scored 169 points for his win. Housley led all 65 laps from the pole and was over eight and a half seconds ahead of second place Paul McCollum when the checkers flew. Craig Pearson crossed the line in third, followed by Satoru Ohno and Late Model veteran Jeff Conover.
Branden Mall made the most trips to victory lane this week as he won five times. Adam Long made the most starts of the week with 23. Top honors in qualifying went to Peter Fisher with a time of 14.972 seconds around South Boston. Lambert, Housley, Christopher Hunt and Landon Huffman each posted top five times at the Virginia track. When it came to the Time Trial competition it was Lambert (who else?) besting Dangelo, Smith, Harste and Joel Skowron.
For all his success, after two weeks of racing in the iRacing Late Model Tour, Lambert holds just a slim six point lead on Meyn, 325 to 319. Third belongs to Dugan as he sits just one point up on Macklin. Division Three leader Housley holds down fifth overall with 309 points, just eight more than Division Two leader Austin Benson. Divisional leaders from skill matched Divisions Four to Ten include Vinny Troia, Chad Arnold, Sean Odea, Johnny Vaughan Jr, Darrell Phillips, Jackson Wellman and Nicholas Maxwell.
The iRacing Late Model Tour now heads to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for Round Three of the 12 week 2012 Season One. Who will step up to take control of the season at the quarter distance mark? Keeps tabs to inRacingNews to find out!
Until next week, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!