The Bootleg Racing League rolled into Stafford Speedway in Connecticut for the second race of the 2016 season, with Matt Hoose holding the point lead after his win at Martinsville in the season opener. Christopher Hensley was second in points, only one point back, but would serve a one-race suspension at Stafford for over-aggressive sim racing after an incident at Martinsville. Brian Neff was sitting in third, two points back from Hoose, heading into the race.
With the 10 car invert rule determining starting order, Lowell Jewell started the race from the pole in the #55. The man on the move early was Matt Hoose in the #21 starting from the seventh position. Hoose would make his way through the field and overtake Jewell for the lead on lap 10. Ryan Nuss followed Hoose to take the second spot, with Jewell falling back to third.
Hoose and Nuss pulled away from the field as Jewell, Donny Moore, Vern Bradley, Mike Holloway, and Brian Neff battled for positions three through eight.
Farther back in the field, Ralph Conner Jr. got into the wall hard on lap 24, but managed to keep the #58 Diet Mt. Dew machine headed in the right direction, thus continuing the string of caution-free laps.
Bradley, Neff, and Moore emerged from the battle for third as the strongest horses and began tracking down Hoose and Nuss who had stretched a comfortable gap. By lap 36, Bradley was on Nuss’ bumper challenging for second. Nuss would make a critical mistake on lap 43 allowing all three cars past before settling into fifth while Bradley set his sights on Hoose with Moore and Neff in tow.
As the online race reached the halfway point, the freight train of Hoose, Bradley, Moore, and Neff managed to stretch a sizable lead over the rest of the field. The lead pack continued stretch that lead over the course of the next 15 laps. The pivotal point of the race would occured on lap 66 as Bradley ran deep into Turn 1, making heavy contact with the race leader. Despite the heavy impact, Bradley and Hoose managed to gather their cars up, once again avoiding a caution.
“I do want to apologize to Matt Hoose for getting into him earlier. I certainly didn’t want to do that.” – Vern Bradley
“I do want to apologize to Matt Hoose for getting into him earlier. I certainly didn’t want to do that” said Bradley during post-race interviews.
The Bootleg Racing League would ultimately assess Bradley a one-race suspension for over-aggressive racing from the incident.
Moore capitalized on the incident. jumping into the race lead with Neff moving into second as Bradley and Hoose would fell to third and fourth, respectively.
Moore maintained a one second advantage over Neff as the race headed into the final 25 laps. Lapped traffic would factor-in on lap 80 as the leaders reached the slower cars of Ralph Conner Jr., Chris Wolfson, and Tim Knott. Chaos erupted with 16 laps to go as the #58 of Conner Jr. hit the wall hard again, narrowly missing Hoose.
Tires became a factor in the final laps as the second placed car of Neff began trying to swap ends on corner exit. Neff got loose in Turns 1 and 2 and then again in Turns 3 and 4, allowing Bradley to slide underneath to take the runner-up spot with 11 laps remaining. Bradley then set out after Moore, cutting tenths from his lead on each lap. Unfortunately, for Bradley, time would ran and Moore took his first BRL Outlaw Modified win of the 2016 season.
“I did the best I could there. I don’t think there was enough time to catch Moore” said Bradley after the race. Neff, Hoose and Nuss rounded-out the top five in this caution-free event.
“Anytime you can get a win here in this series is big. I feel bad for Matt. He was really smooth. I need to get a new rear bumper, but I’ll take the win” said Moore after the race. Tires clearly came into play with the additional 25 laps added to each event for the 2016 season. “25 more laps than last year is a big deal” commented Moore.
Week 3 sees the Bootleg Racing League head to Maine where drivers will challenge Oxford Plains Speedway using the world’s best racing game. Be sure to tune into iRacing Live next Saturday night (January 30) at 9:15PM EST for the Global SimRacing Channel‘s coverage of all the sim racing action!
Be sure to check out the Bootleg Racing League at www.bootlegracingleague.com.