Week 11 of the NASCAR iRacing.com Super Late Model Series traveled east to Thompson Connecticut to race at this tight 0.625 mile track. With 26 degrees of banking, a high groove that’s the only fast way around and a handling-nightmare of a bottom groove that sees cars pushing up in the center and killing exit speed, the track was a challenge to say the least. Of the 18 sim-racers who took the green flag, only 10 would actually cross the start/finish line when the checkered flag dropped, with just a handful on the lead lap.
In the 1904 Strength of Field race Scott Howell led the field to the green with Chad Peterson to his outside, but b y the time they came back around to the start/finish line the leaders got together. Thus Peterson led the first lap . . . backwards before relinquishing his lead to Schrader. Schrader went on to lead 61 of the 70 laps before lapped traffic slowed his march to the win. On Lap 62 Schrader encountered heavy traffic that slowed his lap times down and allowed Peterson to catch back up. Going into Turn Three with a lapped car on the bottom side, Schrader gave too much room, enabling Peterson to shoot the gap in the middle and make a bid for the lead. Coming out of Turn Four with Peterson straddling the concrete and asphalt patch, Schrader pushed in search of exit speed. Slight contact resulted, with Schrader fighting the car going down the straight away before hitting the outside wall by the start/finish line.
Schrader’s mishap sealed the victory for Peterson, who fought back valiantly from his earlier spin and stretched his lead to five seconds by the end of the race. After the contact Schrader’s night went from bad to worse as he slowed with the damage from his crash, allowing PJ Childs to catch him on the final lap. Childs went to the bottom groove to pass Schrader in Turn Three. They went through Three andFour together before the drag race to the checkered flag saw Childs edge Schrader by eight thousandths of a second.
The race was slowed four times for 22 laps with many of the accidents producing traffic jams on the straights. The first major incident took place on Lap Six restarting race, with two separate incidents clogging the front stretch. The incidents were mirror images of each other asA aron Wisneski bounced-off the front stretch wall and, with no room to move, got into Samuel Ferguson sending them spinning down the front stretch. The second incident saw Todd Sipe bounce off the wall into Robert Barber who flipped down the front stretch before landing on all four wheels at the entrance to Turn One and, surprisingly, simply driving away. Not so in his wake . . . As the sim-racers scattered down the front stretch, some took to the grass in avoidance, Memphis Villarreal locked his brakes to avoid the mayhem and spun around the cars of Sipe and Fergusen before coming to rest harmlessly in the grass.
Turn four would prove to be the problem on another restart on Lap 41 when Lewis Kirby his the wall exiting the turn and was hit by Childs, with Kirby spinning and collecting Benny Ellison. Once again, gridlock became the order of the day on the front stretch. Brian Helm had no time to check-up and got into Kirby, while Howell used the wall to help slow his car down but still collected Ellison. Unable to slow in time, Barber slammed into Howell who once again hit Ellison, pushing pushed back into Kirby, ending the night for several sim-racers.
The top five would be settled through attrition with many sim-racers battling heavily damaged cars at the start of the final long run. Not surprisingly, the last run proved to be too much for many of them. Raymond J. Chapman would battled his ill-handling car until he bounced-off the wall, moving Sipe to P4 and salvaging his race after his earlier incident. Chapman would then yield fifth to Ferguson who, like Sipe, was able to recover from an earlier accident and finish as the final car on the lead lap.
1. Chad Peterson 10. Cole Briton –13L
2. PJ Childs 11. Lewis Kirby –15L
3. Scott Schrader 12. Robert Barber –32L
4. Todd Sipe 13. Robert Evans2 –36L
5. Samuel Ferguson 14. Troy Gudmonson –46L
6. Benny Ellison –1L 15. Scott Howell –51L
7. William Harrington –1L 16. Memphis Villarreal –63L
8. Brian Helm –1L 17. Aaron Wisneski –63L
9. Raymond J Chapman –10L 18. Marshall Smith –70L
The final week of the iRacing.com Super Late Model Series heads south to North Carolina to race at Concord Speedway. The track’s half mile tri-oval configuration with varying degrees of banking sends most sim-racers into a tizzy trying to figure out how to setup the car to not only handle well but live up to the speed the track has been known for. Then final week’s article will include a championship run down.