Season One of 2010 started off with a bang before any tires hit the pavement at Daytona International Speedway when the Chevy Silverado Championship (CSC) became an official NASCAR online racing series, earning the title of NASCAR iRacing Class C Series. It is very well known that the CSC is one of the most competitive and popular series in the whole iRacing service and, new name or no, 2010 Season One should be no different. The schedule every type of track, from the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, the enormous 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway, and everywhere in between. However, the first track up on the twelve week schedule was Daytona, where anything can, and often does happen.
As the season got underway, the championship picture was cloudy at best, as several of the top finishers from Season Four, 2009 are also participating in the NASCAR iRacing World Championship (NiWC) including two-time defending CSC champion Josh Berry. These drivers might not run as many races in the CSC, as their main focus will likely be on the NiWC.
Being a restrictor plate track, Daytona levels the playing field, making racing unpredictable and leaving drivers fearing that a big crash could happen at any moment without warning. This danger did not keep drivers from competing though, as 1431 drivers started an official race. As always, Lady Luck had it in for some drivers, including defending champ Berry, who in two races failed to crack the top ten.
Countless others saw iRating and Safety Rating plummet from just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even restrictor plate master Jesse Atchison could not avoid some bad luck. After opening the week with three victories and three other top fives, the Atlantic Club driver’s luck simply ran dry with finishes of fourteenth and seventeenth. “The lead is the only place that is safe here,” explained Atchison.
The high strength of field race Saturday night did not disappoint either. The field included nine NiWC -icensed drivers, who helped push the SOF to a whopping 4950. Jordan Hightower took the victory, earning 309 points in the process. Runner-up Connor Mackenzie took home 291 points for his result, and with it, the series points lead as that was his only race of the week. Jason Burstein was third, Joel Nori finished fourth and Dylan Slepian rounded out the top five.
Jonathan Dickert recorded the most wins during Week One with eight, followed by Eugene Mozgunov with seven. Dickert and Joey Schmidt tied for most top five finishes, with each driver scoring 19.
The overall championship standings show Mackenize out in front early with 291 points. Burstein is in second overall, 17 points behind the leader. Toby Jenkins, Nori, and Slepian round-out the top five after Week One. Defending champion Berry will most likely end-up having Daytona as a drop week, as he failed to even break the top 100 in points scored for the week.
Next up on the schedule is Charlotte Motor Speedway. With the “draft lock” a thing of the past after the new build, racing should be much more interesting on the 1.5 mile ovals. No longer will drivers pack race the majority of the time. Track position and pit strategy will be more important than ever before, as clean air is gold. Week Two will show who was just out for some restrictor plate fun at Daytona, and who is really gunning for Berry’s spot as champion of the CSC.