The NASCAR iRacing.com Class A Series drivers took on the Monster Mile (aka Dover International Speedway) for Week Nine of their challenging schedule. The Monster lived up to its nickname, and more, turning small mistakes into race ending crashes for more than one a sim racer. While some tried to stay behind the eye of the storm and out of harms way, others took charge of the field and took command of the race.
One driver who showed no fear of the Monster was season points leader Nick Ottinger. Ottinger dominated both big point races on the week, sweeping the week and earning himself maximum points. Ottinger is putting his name among the favorites to not only make the NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series, but possibly win it all. This 343 point week adds to his cushion over new second place points-holder Harrison Donovan, who bumped Alex Warren to third overall with an impressive 280 point week.
NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship drivers were out in force this week, and they stuffed the top of the leader board. Six of the top ten points totals on the week belonged to current NiSWC competitors, and that is not included last week’s first time NiSWC winner Kevin King, who took home the fifth best total at Dover. That said, Ottinger, Donovan, and Chase Paduano deserve a huge tip of the hat this week for being the only class A drivers in the top ten.
As the season heads into drop weeks, the drivers in the top twelve are beginning to feel a bit more comfortable even as their colleagues on the outside looking-in are getting antsy to score some big weeks. The overall top five are all but locks to make it into the next level; Ottinger, Donovan, Warren, Jake Stergios and Paduano. Paul Kusheba holds onto a solid sixth, but it is not too far back to Michael J Johnson in seventh. Getting back into the lighter half of the top ten is where you will find the nail biters. Jon Adams and Mitchell Hunt sit eighth and ninth, with Chris Overland rounding-out the top ten. Justin Thompson and Del Mears make out the final two qualifying spots, but they have Phillip Diaz right on their tail.
Getting back to Week Nine at Dover, a few new statistical leaders made their way to the top. Division Eight’s Terry Garska wracked-up the most starts with sixteen, Steve Wright had a dozen and Jimmy Winn made eleven starts. Steven Gilbert had the most wins on the week with five, while Wright went right to victory lane three times as did NiSWC driver Steve Sheehan.
Next week will be a new challenge for NiCAS competitors, as they will take on Iowa Speedway for the first time in series history. Iowa is described as a short track, with all the characteristics of a mile and a half cookie cutter. Both ends of the track are extremely different, challenging teams and drivers to get a (different) handle on both ends. With nobody enjoying an advantage in experience, everyone will be on an equal footing . . . at least at the start of the week. So Week 10 will see who can shine for the first time in the Hawkeye State.