After 11 grueling weeks of online racing, the end of Season One in the NASCAR iRacing Class C Fixed Series is now upon us. With a tight battle for the championship lined up, what better place to go to settle it than a short track? Having tempers flare and steering wheels smashed is the name of the game when any series on the iRacing service heads to Richmond International Raceway. With several racers still mathematically having a shot at the championship, the top spot was still up for grabs heading into the season finale at the three-quarter-mile racing facility.
With this being the last race of the season, big time implications are on the line when it comes to the championship, and it also brings out big time sim racers. NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series competitor Danny Hansen (Midwest) started from the 13th position in his No. 7 Main Performance PC Silverado and lead only six laps en route to the victory in the week’s top strength of field event. Although Hansen only led six laps, he was in the right place at the right time, which is often very important in both real racing and sim racing. With several drivers saying out on old tires, there was a scramble at the front of the field heading into Turns One and Three on the restart which allowed Hansen to scrape through, literally, and take the victory. Jordy Lopez Jr (New Jersey) started from the sixth position in the No. 6 Silverado and was able to lead one lap en route to a second place finish in the event. The final spot on the podium was occupied by Canadian sim racer Nicholas Goertzen who started from the fourth position in the No. 14 machine. Even though Goertzen finished in the top three, he had to do some beating and banging both of his and not of his doing to finish in his respective position. The final spots in the top five went to Pennsylvania native Matt Kocher and rounding out the top five is Carolina Club member Malik Ray. The 5783 strength of field was slowed for caution a total of four times for a dreadful 16 laps and saw eight lead changes among eight drivers.
Although Lopez Jr did not earn the victory in the week’s top strength of field event, he was able to earn the most championship points with 338 for the week due to Hansen running five races. The second top point earner for the week was Tyler Hill (Atlantic) who made two starts during the week, one of which resulted in a win and the accumulation of 331 points. Ray’s top five effort during the week’s top strength of event as well as his efforts during his other 12 races resulted in the addition of 304 points. The final two positions in the weekly standings went to a pair of NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series competitors in Alex Warren (Illinois) and Hansen who netted 304 and 288 points, respectively.
Qualifying at Richmond can be a handful, especially with the setup and weather that were provided for the competitors during the week. One driver who didn’t have any issues navigating the speedway was pole sitter Goertzen, who laid down a blistering time of 21.062 seconds. The second place driver, Spencer Prete (Atlantic) finished off the week with a time of 21.072 seconds, just one hundredth of a second slower than pole sitter Goertzen. The final spot on the qualifying podium went to Allen Boes (Ohio) who turned a quick time of 21.073 seconds. The remaining positions in the top five were Michael Smith (Virginias) and Warren, who put in times of 21.076 and 21.078 seconds, respectively.
After having a very successful week, Lopez Jr solidified himself as the 2014 Season One NASCAR iRacing Class C Fixed Series champion. Lopez Jr’s season saw him take the green flag for 97 events and saw the checkered flag first 23 times en route to the accumulation of 2,043 championship points for the season. The second place position was held down by Matthew Wright2 (New York) who started 46 events during the week, with 30 of them resulting in a top five finish, and four in a victory. Wright earned 2,041 points (-2) for his work during the season, but unfortunately for him, it was not enough to take the championship away from Lopez Jr. The third spot went to Ray, who started 91 events during the season, which included 63 top five finishes, 36 trips to victory lane and the accrual of 1,976 points (-67). The fourth position in the final standings was filled by Steven Eszenyi (New England) who started 48 events, having 31 result in a top five finish, 14 result in a victory, and the collection of 1,934 (-109) championship points. The final spot in the top five was occupied by NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series competitor Adam Gilliland (Texas) who made 44 starts during the week, having 30 of those result in a top five, 15 in a victory, and the accumulation of 1,809 (-234) points to cap off the 12 week season. Other division champions included Ryan Hoepner (Texas), JD Laird (California), Trey Browning (Texas), Seth Schultz (Midwest), Casey McMullen Sr (Pennsylvania), John L. Joseph (Mid-South), James McCray Jr (Ohio), Connor Matthews (Canada), Brandon Furr (Carolina), and rounding out divisions two through rookie was Brendan Costello (New England).
Depending on which end of the spectrum you’re on depends on whether you’re sad or glad to see Season One end. Those drivers who had a very successful year are sad to see their run end, and the drivers who didn’t have such a good season are glad to be able to start fresh in Season Two. The opener for Season Two will take place at the historic Daytona International Speedway with 25 laps of intense side-by-side pack racing with speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. Check back with iRacingNews next week for a full recap of the action from the 2.5-mile superspeedway.