After a one week hiatus, the NASCAR iRacing Series was back in full swing for Round Nine of the season at Richmond International Raceway. Drivers had the opportunity to spend the week off concentrating on getting good and consistent lap times as well as tweaking their setup in preparation for Richmond’s upcoming online races. The front straightaway at Richmond in itself is not a straight – simracers can feel the rear of the car wanting to step out on you all the way along it – if you’re not gentle with the throttle pedal.
In the Open races this week Billy Price made the most of the Richmond asphalt to claim the top points haul. Price won the first race of the week which had the highest SoF giving him 386 points for his efforts. Price finished ahead of NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Tyler Hudson who led the most laps and racked-up the fastest lap time of the race but, despite this, finished just over three seconds behind Price at the finish. Patrick Crabtree finished P3 a further second behind Hudson with Jordy Lopez Jr finishing P4 – a nice display of simracing considering Lopez started P26.
The second race showcased yet more A-License talent with Greg McKinney taking the checkered flag ahead of 29 other drivers. Placement is the key in this series, and with only 12 laps lead McKinney placed himself perfectly for the win right when it counted – at the end. Runner-up Chad Laughton finished just .3 seconds behind McKinney. Laughton’s performance seemed dominant once Kenny Humpe slipped-up and lost quite a few positions – Laughton led 149 laps out of a possible 200, yet couldn’t seem to make the most of it and grab the win. However, he gained 358 points from the online race so Laughton should be pleased with the result.
The final Open race of the week saw Humpe make-up for his misfortunes in R2 by picking up the win. Humpe claimed the three goals each driver makes when looking at their race – win, set the fastest lap and lead the most laps. Humpe did all of these in convincing fashion. Thomas Davis was his closest competition finishing in P2, driving a very solid race despite the four incidents points he accumulated in the process. Matthew Nichols made his way through the field from P28 all the way up to third, scoring a handy 345 points.
In the Fixed action at Richmond, Ray Alfalla stamped his name at the top of the results pages this week, winning the first race and taking with him the highest amount of points possible, as R1 had the strongest SoF of the week. Hudson kept Alfalla honest for the majority of the race, but was never able to get past for the win. Josh Laughton came home P3 just over a second behind the top two. Almost half the race was run under caution, showing the margin of error at Richmond is next to zero.
The second race of the week only triple splitted, meaning the SoF (and points) of the race were negatively affected, so anyone looking for a nice points finish had their work cut out. Nonetheless Chad Pruitt sealed the deal and took the win as well as starting from the pole position. Alex Kan led the most laps but finished two laps down at the end. Kevin Pommier finished .5 seconds behind the winner and Daniel Curtz was a further second behind Pruitt at the checkered flag. The winner’s 194 points showed how much the small SoF affected the points distribution: a thirteenth place finish in R1 would netted the same total . . .
Hudson once again showed his overall pace at Richmond by winning the top split of the week’s third race. Hudson edged-out Crochart by just .1s, proving that Crochart’s wins in previous rounds show he has all-around talent on any type of speedway. Ryan Lowe finished out your top three; however, after leading 64 laps he would of hoped for better. Dwayne Vincent carried-on scoring well, earning 264 points for P4.
The final race at Richmond saw many of iRacing’s top oval drivers compete for the points – and pride of beating their fellow competition. Josh Laughton got the upper hand on the field and after 92 laps in the lead, was the first driver to cross the checkered flag after a total of 200 laps. Michael Conti finished .2s back from Laughton with Hudson and Alfalla completing the top four. The gaps between cars were amazingly close – with just two seconds covering the top six sim-racers. Bob Bryant was the highest placed A-licence driver in sixth, as the PRO/Black Stripe racers dominated the top positions in the race.
So at the end of the Richmond week, in the Open series with 9 weeks counted Jordy Lopez Jr makes his way back to first in the standings with an almost 200 point lead over the rest of the competitors (3038). Burmeister is his nearest rival with 2836 points, as well as being the highest placed European driver to race in the series. Patrick Crabtree moves up to third with good results in Richmond, moving ahead of the likes of Hudson and Laughton who are one and two weeks behind respectively, points-wise. Malik Ray holds the fourth spot in the standings, placing him in a good spot for the PRO license come the end of the season.
The Fixed series sees Matt Bussa continue his run at the top of the standings; with some more points in Richmond he extended his streak at the top by another week. Bussa currently stands with 2323 points heading into next week – with an 81 point buffer to Dwayne Vincent. Conti controls the third spot in the championship, a nice achievement considering he has only raced in seven of nine weeks. Eric Hansard and Steve Gilbert round-out the Fixed Setup NASCAR iRacing Series top five.
Next week we move back to the super-speedways for Week 10 of the NASCAR iRacing Series. Talladega Superspeedway will no doubt see plenty of bump drafting over the course of seven online races taking place over the week, so expect the winning margins to be closer than ever! Will Lopez stay on top in the Open standings? Or will Talladega be the perfect track for the likes of Burmeister and Ray to make a challenge for P1?
Check back at iRacingNews next week for the rundown of the weeks action at Talladega.