Talladega Superspeedway hosted Week 32 of the NASCAR iRacing Series, with the climax building as we come closer to the end of the long season of sim racing. The 2.66 mile ‘all flat-out’ track produces super-close results, sometimes with only the length of a human hair deciding the outcome of a race finish. Qualifying is less of a factor on a superspeedway – with drafting (and the techniques that go with it) the main focus of the sim racers’ minds! Nevertheless, Matt Sanders claimed the fastest time in Quali-trim, putting in a 49.973s to secure his pole position.
Brad Mahar was the big winner at ‘Dega, scoring a massive 386 points with a win in the big SoF race, narrowly beating Dwayne Vincent to score the most points this week. Vincent – with the win in the second highest SoF — was only three points off Mahar’s score, but in terms of the championship for Vincent, very critical points if he wants to catch Matt Bussa. Justin Bolton’s P2 in the 6015 SoF put him third in the weeks standings, just ahead of Christian Pedersen, who managed to get one top five finish in two appearances. All drivers in the week’s top four felt one race wasn’t enough, competing in two out of the five races held at ‘Dega. Florian Gedard completed the week’s top five, with a third place finish in his only race of the week.
From the super speeds that Talladega provides, the NASCAR iRacing Series moved to the tricky and technical layout of The Paperclip – ala Martinsville. Michael Conti got the most out of the Fixed setup and blasted his way to Victory lane in the 5568 SoF race – which was the highest SoF race of the week. Conti made his way from P23 all the way to first, a nice achievement at one of the smallest short track of the season — and one worthy of the 2014 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion! Bussa wasn’t too far behind, with his runner-up finish in the same race enough to narrowly edge out Tyler Hudson with his win in the first race of the week. Luke Christian and Open Series champ Patrick Crabtree rounded out the top five in week that saw many top drivers displaying their skills.
So what does that do to the standings? Bussa still leads with a considerable gap if you factor-in drop weeks, as he has less weeks counted than his rivals. Vincent has 7197 points compared to Bussa’s 7351, so the gap is decreasing, but still manageable from Bussa’s point of view. Kris Kelley is next up, however with just over 600 points separating him from the top two, his focus could well be on holding that final podium position. Joshua Filyaw will be the driver trying to do the opposite, and with only 70 points between him and Kelley, it could well be a fight to the last lap at Homestead. William Green rounds out the top five on 6201 points – but with many PRO and WC drivers slowly moving their way up the standings, Green will have his work cut out to remain there.
Next week, we go to one of the quickest cookie cutters on the calendar, with Texas Motor Speedway being a favourite among many of the sim racers of the NASCAR iRacing Series. With there being a clear gap between the top two and the rest of the top five, can Kelley, Filyaw or Green close the gap at Texas? Check iRacingNews next week for all the answers!