March 9th, 2018 by Doug Hunt
Heading into Phoenix, Nick Ottinger finds himself atop the standings after a victory in the season opener at Daytona ended the longest winless streak of his career at 34 races. Moving out West, the NPAiS will take on the newly named ISM Raceway for 156 laps. This will be the 4th race for the series since the track was reconfigured a handful of years ago. From a caution filled 2015 event to a caution free edition in 2016, the circuit has proved to have a degree of uncertainty. Drivers will be looking to have an incident free race this Tuesday…something only four drivers were able to accomplish last year.
ISM Raceway provides fans with the excitement of short track racing at relatively high speeds for such a track. Expect multiple grooves to come into play, with even the apron being available for use in turns 3 and 4! Last year’s race featured an intense battle for the lead in the final ten laps with some contact being made. Who will be battling it out for the win this year? We take a look at some of the favorites:
Alfalla boasts the best average finish of all competitors who have competed in the three Phoenix races. In his three previous outings, Ray has finished in 1st, 3rd, and 2nd. He looks to lead his first laps at the track since his 2015 victory.
A rookie in 2017, Zalenski scored his first career world championship win at ISM Raceway. The victory was the beginning of an impressive streak for the Slip Angle Motorsports driver that ended with Zalenski competing for a championship in Homestead Miami. Can Zalenski duplicate his 2017 victory and make a bold statement to begin 2018?
Always a force to be reckoned with on short tracks, 2015 series champion Kenny Humpe has scored two top 5 finishes in his past three ISM starts. After being involved in a wreck in the closing laps at Daytona, this is the perfect track for Humpe to gain momentum in hopes of returning to his once dominant form.
The 2017 Phoenix pole winner looked to be on pace for his first career win last year until a swarm of cautions during green flag pitstops scattered the early leaders throughout the field. Bussa joins Alfalla as the only other driver in this year’s field to post top 15 finishes in all three previous Phoenix races.
The newest team in the NPAiS field kicked off the season at Daytona with three cars scoring a top 5 finish. Nick Ottinger (1st), Brian Schoenburg (2nd), and Michael Conti (4th) lead the team into ISM Raceway with a lot of confidence and momentum on their side. It certainly would not be surprising to see the Richmond Raceway powered Chaos Crew to find similar success this Tuesday.
Catch the action from ISM Raceway live this Tuesday, March 13th at 9:00pm EST on www.iracing.com/live