Texas Motor Speedway was the racetrack to over 1200 sim-racers as they race towards the halfway point in the NASCAR iRacing Series. The ‘Great American Speedway’ provided some close sim-racing at high speeds, with the virtual track incorporating features of Talladega & Bristol – and with the tarmac renowned for its slipperiness — being precise with the driving controls was the key to finishing up the field in Texas.
In the first race of the Fixed series, NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Danny Hansen took the lead towards the end of the race – and stayed there to take the checkered flag in style, finishing ahead of some of iRacing’s best oval sim-racers. Hansen took over the lead from Ray Alfalla with 22 to go and rose above the pressure applied by the likes of Michael Conti and Alfalla to stay in P1 until the end. Conti finished second, with .465s the delta between himself and Hansen. Alfalla came home third after leading 96 laps, but should still be content with a podium finish at Texas.
Julien Oligo captured the second race in the Fixed series in convincing style. Oligo lead 154 laps out of the 167 run, and secured the fastest lap at the start of the race (Lap Two). The 3297 SoF win earned Oligo with 211 points which could prove vital come the end of the series. Jared Mogard finished second although he was more than two seconds behind Oligo at the flag. DE-AT-CH driver Daniel Curtz was P3, pushing Mogard all the way to the finish.
Race Three produced a 4660 SoF, resulting in more points on offer than race Two to put towards their championship challenges. NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Rob Ackley started from position number one and that’s exactly where he finished – however it was not as easy as it might have seemed. NASCAR iRacing Pro Series driver Justin Bolton made life hard for Ackley, showing his pace by holding the fastest lap. However, Ackley beat Bolton to the flag by half a a second, showing Texas can produce some great racing. Steven Eszenyi finished third almost two seconds behind Ackley.
The Final fixed race of the week saw former NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champ Alfalla make-up for his third place earlier in the week. Finishing ahead of fellow Pro/WC driver Josh Berry and Brenden Koehler (P3), Alfalla scored 334 points and so takes quite a nice bag of points with him to Darlington next week. Bryan Blackford finished in fourth collecting 299 points, showing the range of points on offer from P1-4.
The first race of the Open series continued the tradition of hosting the largest SOF of the week; and with the points being so close at the top of the standings, a good finish at Texas could move you a few places up the standings. 2013 Oval Pro champion Chris Overland seized the initiative and won the first race, narrowly beating Alfalla by .3 of a second. Alfalla continued his run of good races in Texas – in both Open and Fixed — whilst Overland focused on the Open series. Adam Gilliland rounded-out the top three, dropping down two places after starting on pole. Gilliland earned 363 points towards his Pro campaign as both Overland and Alfalla already have their Pro/WC licences.
Chad Laughton made up for his mishaps in the first race of the week, by being the first to the checkered in Race Two – winning in dominant fashion. Although Jared Crawford finished .2s behind Laughton at the end, Laughton lead 142 laps out of the total 167 laps, showing his true race pace after finishing well down the field in Race One. Alfalla once again featured at the top end of the race result, not counting the points gained from Race Two as they were less than his Race One result. Race Two came across as a clean race due to just five cautions throughout the race – much less than we’ve seen this season at other tracks such as Martinsville.
The final Open race of the Texas week proved to be even cleaner than Race Two with only one caution and just three caution laps! This meant strategy was a big part of the online race. Malik Ray made his way to the top of the score sheet once again with an incident-free drive to victory lane. In fact the top four drivers ran incident-free races, highlighting the cleanliness of the event. Charlie Foster finished in second, quite a bit further back than the other races with a delta of .8s between P1 and P2, while Robert Hall finished third. Race Three confirmed the potential many A licence drivers have had all season with Hall being the only NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver to finish in the top five.
With the Darlington action taking place before the final standings at the end of the Texas week were totalled up, a full report of the championship standings for both Fixed and Open – will be reviewed at the end of next week following the seven NASCAR iRacing Series races at Darlington.
As mentioned above, next week the online races will be hosted at Darlington, a very special track on the NASCAR iRacing Series calendar. Darlington requires a high racing line – similar to no other tracks on the Oval side of iRacing. 32 cars rushing past the start/finish line at close to 190 mph, whilst in close proximity to both the walls and cars around them should make for an exciting week of online racing.
Be sure not to miss next weeks round-up of the NASCAR iRacing Series, here at iRacingNews.