The NASCAR iRacing Series moved to the state of Virginia for Week 6 at Martinsville Speedway – also known as the Worlds Fastest Paperclip. The .526 mile track would completely change the sim-racers’ driving style from the previous week at Auto Club Speedway as Martinsville requires pin-point accuracy on the slow, tight corners – and the trust in your setup to get on the power as early as possible to maximise your speed on the relatively short straights. In this regard, it is either a popular or hated track due to it being completely unique in its design and with almost no banking it proved tough to run two-wide, lap after lap.
In the first race of the Fixed series, it was Timmy Hill who took to the checkered in first place. It was the highest SoF online race of the week (5290) which continued the trend of having the first race of the week as the strongest – this hasn’t changed much at all this season. Although Hill led almost half the race distance, he wasn’t the only one on top of his game. Former NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Ray Alfalla had the point for 56 laps, however he finished seven laps down at the finish. Malik Ray finished P2 almost .5s behind Hill, with Adam Gilliland a further .4s behind Ray. The top six in fact were quite bunched up – with only 1.5s between them all, which provided for an entertaining finish on Lap 250.
Race two saw Frenchman Simon Crochart win by just .041s after a thrilling final few laps. Crochart edged-out Julien Oligo for the win, with Harrison Widelitz a further .3s back off the lead. No driver in the field finished the race with 0 incidents, showing how tough Martinsville is to race on alone, never mind with 32 cars in close proximity to you!
The penultimate event of the week was filled with some great sim-racing, with Ryan Lowe beating Jordan Werth for the win. Lowe took away 301 points from the 4691 SoF race to add to his Fixed points standings. Runner-up Werth finished .4s behind Lowe, a gap which seems to reoccur every race at Martinsville. Oligo continued his streak of good races with a third place finish in Race Three, with NASCAR iRacing Pro Series driver Justin Bolton finishing further down in sixth – proving that Black stripes can be beat!
The fourth and final race at Martinsville almost leveled the points given away in R1; however unlike R3 there was no lack of Pro and WC drivers at the top of the field, with Michael Conti finishing ahead of Josh Berry to fulfill a black-stripe lockout at the top. Conti only lead 42 laps, but that was enough for him to seal the deal. Berry lead 78, with Tyler Hill leading 72 – yet Tyler wasn’t able to stay near the top. Dalton Baldwin and Brian Schoenburg headed out your top five.
The opening race of the Open Series proved once again to be the most competitive race if the week, with the top split getting a 6000+ SoF and a 388 points payout to the winner. This week saw the rise of the A-license racers as Dillon Raffurty held-off the pack to claim his first top-split win of the 2014 NASCAR iRacing Series. Raffurty grabbed the pole but didn’t quite get the green-white checkered race he was looking for. NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Alex Warren led a solid 84 laps, but was unable to complete the race distance to take advantage of his laps led. Other contenders including Tyler Hudson and Malik Ray finished well down the field, allowing many sim-racers such as Raffurty and runner-up Jared Crawford to seize the moment. Crawford, who finished .23s behind Raffurty, never led a lap of the 250 lap race, showing that you don’t need to be in the lead to get a great result. iRacing Pro Series driver Justin Bolton secured P3 after leading 56 laps, making a bit of ground from his eighth place starting position. Fourth and fifth place finishers Josh Berry and P5 PJ Stergios were a further 1.2 and 2s further back from Raffurty, respectively.
Race Two saw NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Kenny Humpe take the win in convincing style, with no incidents and the fastest lap of the online race. Humpe held-off the likes of Stergios and Chris M Hall en-route to victory, with the gap only .4s at the finish. Stergios, who led 22 laps, wasn’t so incident free, with 8 inc during the race to finish second. Hall finished P3 getting just over 350 points for the 5885 SoF race. The second race saw a flurry of cautions – 16 in fact with a total of 81 laps behind the Pace Car which, considering the short nature of the track and the tight quarters for all 32 cars, was not unexpected.
The final race of the Open Series produced an unusual finish as the pace-setter for the latter part of the race – (Timmy) Hill – was disqualified with two laps to go after he reached the “incident limit” of 28. iRacing implemented the incident limit at the start of this year, unfortunately catching Hill out at Martinsville. Crochart took advantage of Hill’s indescretions to put his car at the front of the field at the checkered flag for the second time this season in Top Split action. Crochart started on the pole and made the most of others’ mistake to gain 362 points towards his points total. Ohio sim-racer Alles Boes finished almost a second back in P2 with Benjamin Burmeister of Germany rounding out the podium finishers.
Week 6 concluded with Jordy Lopez Jr atop the Open standings thanks to a 95 point lead to second place Justin Bolton while Hudson lies third after not getting the points he wanted from Martinsville. Ray occupies P4 in the championship, with Burmeister moving up to fifth place thanks to the nice points haul from his third place in the last race of Week 6.
In the Fixed Series Matt Bussa continues to lead the way despite only counting five weeks of points. This could come in handy when drop weeks start to take effect as Bussa won’t need to discard many results. Dwayne Vincent holds on to second with Ray close behind in third and the Pro duo of Steven Gilbert and Bolton rounding out your top five.
Next week we move to the Lone Star state for Week 7 of the NASCAR iRacing Series at the famous Texas Motor Speedway. With its wide layout and 24-degree banked corners, TMS should produce some fast-paced action in both Fixed and Open competition. Can Raffurty stay on top? Will Hudson retake the points lead deep in the heart of Texas?
Check iRacingNews next week for the full story.