After 12 weeks of action and thousands of laps in the 2012 Season One iRacing Late Model Tour (iLMT) season, it was Mark Lambert who came out on top of over 3,100 drivers to become champion of the series. While he was relatively quiet in the last two weeks of his championship season, many others took the chance to make some noise in the final two rounds of the popular short track series.
The final two weeks of the season took the series to the Bristol and Stafford Motor Speedways. When the series went to the Bristol high banks for Round 11, it was Tanner Stoops who took the checkered flag in the race to the top of the weekly standings. Stoops won three of the four races he ran during the week, including a 3033 sof race on April 16th in which he led wire-to-wire in the 50 lap race from the outside pole. Charlie Foster was second, seven tenths of a second behind Stoops at the finish. Steven Landry was third, followed by Mike Costrello and Todd Laribee within the top five. Pole sitter Heath Smith went on to finish eighth in the race. At the completion of seven days of competition, Stoops ended his run at Bristol with 175 points.
Ian Blanchard was second for the week after he took command of a 2807 sof race on April 16th. Blanchard led the final 35 laps of the race after taking the point from pole sitter Dylan Cecce. Cecce finished a car length behind the winner in second place and was followed to the stripe at Lap 50 by Donald Hagan, Miles Crabbe and Brian Babb. Blanchard, who started fourth in the race, captured 174 points for the week at Bristol with that victory.
Meanwhile, Cecce went on to set weekly highs in most categories, making a whopping 44 starts, turning those into 36 victories. He completed 2160 laps and led 1948 of them, or 90% of the laps he ran over the seven day span. At the completion of the week, he came home with 154 points and the third place position overall in the weekly standings. Cecce also started on the pole for the week, blasting around Bristol in a time of 14.471 seconds. Just a shade behind (at a 14.472 second lap) was Jeff Ford, with Johnny Housley, Smith and Crabbe completing the top five. Smith was the top in the Time Trial competition for the week, followed by David Deschenes, Satoru Ohno, Anita Frederiksen and Jeremy Ahlum.
Gareth Gonder left the Stafford Motor Speedway on Week Twelve as the top driver from the last seven days of the season point wise after a second place finish in the highest rated race of the week. The highest sof race, rated at 2963, saw Virginia’s Daniel Williamson lead all 65 laps of the event en route to the win from the first starting position. Gonder finished in second, nearly three seconds back with Gregg Johncock, Clay Jones and Kenneth Lang completing the top five in the race. Gonder put up 166 points in this race to lock up first place for the week.
What about Williamson you might ask? Well, the Virginia native went on to make 18 starts over the seven day span at Stafford, winning in ten of those starts which tied Shawn Stitt atop the win count for the week. Stitt was perfect for the week, winning in all ten appearances he made in Connecticut for the week. When it came to the point picture for the two most successful drivers for the week, it was Stitt edging out Williamson by a single point, 162 to 161.
Tying Stitt for second on the week was Brandon “The Boss” Atkinson. Atkinson topped a 2662 sof race on April 18th in which he led all 65 laps and defeated Christian Pedersen by nine seconds at the finish. Scott Blackburn was third in the race, followed by Thomas Fleming2 and Johncock. Atkinson took home 162 points for the victory.
Stitt was the top driver in qualifying at Stafford with a lap of 19.513 seconds. Smith was second, followed by Jeremy Davis, Williamson and Eric Purcell2. Smith closed in on the Time Trial championship with a win at Stafford over Bill Brown, Davis, Ty Majeski and Stitt. It wasn’t enough to steal away the title from Lambert though as his perfect 800 point total was just three points better than Smith’s. Ahlum, Ohno and Ford rounded out the Top Five overall in the Time Trial standings for the season.
Lambert will go down as the 2012 Season One champion of the iLMT with 1364 points, 79 more points than Smith and his 1285 point total, which was good enough to top Division Two. Housley won Division Three with 1229 points, just seven points (1222) better than Division One’s Jeff Conover. Maxime Paquette edged out fellow Canadian Blanchard by 20 points to take the fifth place overall in the series amongst 3,109 entries. Divisional champions from Four to Ten include Scott Blackburn, Jade Williams, Jeremy Poole2, Fausto Bessa Gomes, Darrell Phillips, Cale Thompson2 and Petie Madrid.
Next up for the iRacing Late Model Tour is the season opener for 2012 Season Two, which will take place during the first week of May.