After a two week break, the NASCAR iRacing Series returned to action at Charlotte.

After a two week gap, the Ford, Chevy and Toyota Gen-6 machines thundered around Charlotte Motor Speedway for Week 12 of the NASCAR iRacing Series in one of iRacing’s full length online races – The Coca Cola 600, simulating the real life NASCAR races with track, car and distance all virtually identical to their real life counterparts. With drivers still finding their feet with the New Tire Model (NTMv5), lap times fell throughout the week with Chad Laughton nailing the fastest lap of all at 26.460s.

The first 400 laps of the Fixed Series allowed William Green to drive to Victory Lane against some tough competition. Green was up against the likes of P2 Steven Gilbert and PRO/WC driver Michael Conti, who after 22 laps ran into trouble and finished well down the field. Gilbert applied the pressure to Green at the end, and after 600 miles and 400 laps, the gap between the top two drivers was just under a second – amazing sim-racing! Dwayne Vincent finished a solid race in third, just 1.6 seconds back from Green – with Vincent one of only two drivers to have a completely incident-free race, something only the best achieve in these real length online races.

Larry Yingling took the second race win of the week in the Fixed action, moving into first when it mattered. Derrick Stone led an incredible 163 laps and despite running the fastest lap of the race on L116 – he finished 14 seconds back from Yingling at the finish. 16 laps in the lead was all that Yingling needed to complete the victory, holding a four second advantage on runner-up Connor Anton. As in Race One, third place driver (Matt Simpson) ran an incident free race, in this case just .2s back from Anton on the last lap and over the finish line. Eke David was fourth and Stone eventually finished fifth… so not all was lost!

You would have thought that having three NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series drivers in the third Fixed race of the week would bump the SoF – but it had other ideas! Nevertheless, a 4061 SoF still generated points for those looking to fight for the top positions in the standings. Conti made up for Race One by securing the win in almost dominant fashion, not only leading an amazing 341 laps (over 541 miles) but setting fastest lap of the race in the bargain. And it wasn’t like this was easy competition – the NASCAR iRacing Series field is full of top talent looking for top results. Reigning DWC champion Tyler Hudson finished behind Conti with the delta just over eight seconds – that’s how fast Conti was! Ty McWhirter finished P3 just .034s behind Hudson – a really close finish for a 600 mile race!

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The pit crews take-in the Charlotte Motor Speedway action.

Blade Whitt started from first for the final Fixed online of the week, and that’s exactly where he finished – gaining 268 points from the 4182 SoF and leading 242 laps of the race. Chris Seymour kept Whitt under pressure right to the end, finishing P2 just over 1 second behind Whitt – whilst both running clean races (0 incidents) showing the level of skill by both drivers. Ty McWhirter scored himself another third place, an achievement overlooked in the oval side of iRacing.

In the Open Series, Malik Ray drove a great race to rack up win number one in the first online race. Although he started down in tenth, Ray moved his way through the field and led 150 of 400 laps. David Rattler was his closest challenger towards the end with the likes of Crabtree, Lowe, McKinney all finding trouble along the 600-mile journey. Rattler finished just over three seconds behind Ray, with Taylor Hurst in third a further .4s  back from Rattler while Jeffrey Parker and Billy Price filled-out the top five.

Ray wasn’t finished after taking the Race One;  a 400 lap race means the number of drivers who lead laps is increased, arguably equating to a harder chance of winning. Ray started from further back in Race Two, but that didn’t stop him leading 173 laps and winning the race – making him two-to-two under the lights of Charlotte. Patrick Crabtree pushed him every step of the way, finishing .7s behind Ray at the checkered. Tyler Hill almost grabbed the second spot from Crabtree in the final moments, with the delta between P2 and P3 just .06s! Greg McKinney rounded out the top four.

The only other driver to capture a win in the Open Series this week was Chad Laughton, who emerged victorious in the third and final race of the week. Laughton led 315 laps out of a possible 400, displaying quite dominant pace throughout the race. Kevin King and Corey Vincent kept him busy, but Laughton edged-out his lead slowly and surely before taking the flag 8.5 seconds ahead of Laughton and Vincent at the end. Jason Berg bagged fourth spot – a further 10 seconds back off Vincent, while Nicholas Morse completed your top five.

All told, more than 2800 sim-racers took the green flag in NiS action at Charlotte.

Patrick Crabtree sits atop the Open standings after Charlotte, counting points from all 12 weeks of online racing. With 3881 points, Crabtree has a lead of just over 180 points over second position in the standings – Jordy Lopez Jr. Justin Bolton takes control of third just over 100pts shy of Lopez.  Ray falls to fourth with only 11 weeks counted, so expect him to be up at the front with some good results in the next couple of weeks. Rounding out the top five positions is Billy Price, with just over 3500 points, showing the spread of points between the sim-racers.

In the Fixed Series, Vincent still leads the standings with a healthy 170+ points delta to Matt Bussa who, in turn, leads a trio of NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series drivers who have made their way up the standings. Conti is 80 points behind Bussa with Hudson 50 points behind Conti – meaning the field is reasonably close compared to the Open Series. Steven Gilbert holds onto the fifth spot in the championship, heading out the four black striped drivers in the top five.

Next up on the NASCAR iRacing Series calendar?  Dover.   With this being ‘Week 13’ we could see some interesting techniques used in the sim-racing!  The Monster Mile’s steep banking could present more opportunities for two-wide action – guess you’ll have to check iRacingNews next week for the lowdown on the action at Dover.

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