For the second time this season, Michigan International Speedway played host to the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series (NiPS). As always, the high banks provided thrilling online racing action from front to back. No matter what position you are in, there is no place to hide in the Irish Hills.
Josh Berry comes away with top honors of the week. In two starts he was managed a 285 point race, making him the top point-getter of the week. Parity at the top of the chart, as Jesse Atchison, Thomas Hazard, and Richard Towler all tied for second with 284 points, just one behind Berry. Connor Mackenzie joined them all with a win, and a very strong 280 points.
Wednesday night was the first opportunity for the pros to hit the high banks of MIS. Daniel Pope, Charles Cosper, and Richie Davidowitz all had very strong cars, but nobody could touch Berry. In redundant fashion, Berry scored his eighth win of the season. Davidowitz had a stellar run to come home second, Matthew Moose, Michael Johnson, and Chris Shearburn rounded-out the top five.
Jesse Atchison stole one from Byron Daley in Wednesday night’s other split. Daley led 93 of the 110 laps, but came up short to the hard-charging Jesse Atchison. Atchison had experienced great success in this series last season, and is a threat in the NASCAR iRacing Series World Championship, but it took him until MIS to finally score his first win of the season. Justin Trombley was able to slide in front of Daley to take second, Dana Wymer finished fourth and Jordan Erickson rounded out the top five.
In arguably one of the toughest races to win of the week, Connor Mackenzie overcame his twenty-first starting position to take his first win of the season, beating big names like Steve Sheehan, Ray Alfalla, and Thomas Hazard in the bargain.
“Went into the race with zero practice laps with the setup or at the track with open setups, BB convinced me to race which ended up being a good choice,” Mackenzie said.
Feels really nice to get my first pro series after a lot of chances and disappointments.”
Sunday Afternoon saw two very strong splits of racing. The first split was stacked with some of the biggest names in sim racing. Richard Towler, Brad Davies, Josh Parker, and more all took to the track gunning for the top spot. One bullet the field dodged was Davies, who was involved in an early incident, and finished twenty seventh. On the other hand, Towler and Parker carved their way through the field and settled the race between themselves. It ended with Towler leading Parker when the final caution flew with two laps to go to end the race. Joshua Laughton finished an impressive third, Charles Cosper was fourth and Jameson Spies returned to the series this week to finish fifth.
More big names were found in the second race: Alfalla, Hazard, Jim Caudill Jr. and Tyler Hudson all in the same race, which was a brutal mix for their competitors. It looked like Steven Gilbert was going to rain on their parade early, as he jumped-out front and led twenty one laps. However Gilbert faded as the race went on, putting the race in the hands of the heavy hitters. It came down to a late race battle between Hazard and Caudill, eventually Hazard was able to get his nose ahead and take the win by two tenths over Caudill. Points leader Alfalla finished third, the impressive Dana Wymer fourth, and Tyler Hudson rounded-out the top five.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is the next stop for the NiPS. The battle for the points lead is ever shrinking. Alfalla is on top, but has Pope and Berry nipping on his heals trying to take the championship from him. Will Alfalla be able to hang on, or will Atlanta be the week he faulters and loses the points lead? All the questions will be answered in two weeks at ‘Hotlanta’.