After the opening week free-for-all that was Talladega, the NASCAR iRacing Class B Open Series got down to business in Week 2 with a visit to Rockingham Speedway in the sand hills of North Carolina. As expected, the drivers who figure to be slugging-it- out for the 2014 Season 2 championship wasted no time moving to the top of the standings.
Arguably, the 1.017-mile Rockingham Speedway is one of the roughest tracks on the iRacing service and this feature has produced a love/hate relationship with the abrasive venue. The bumpy turns can be a setup nightmare for even the most talented wrench monkey. Sim-racers able to get the car to handle through the corners, have a love affair with the track because they are usually pulling-in wins and top fives. For the rest that never really hit on a set to make the car behave, visits to the Rock usually mean long and frustrating races.
The popularity of the track, or lack there of, was evident in as only 21 races went official compared to 101 races the week before at Talladega. Most all that ran “The Rock” week were series regulars in it for the long haul, but even a few of those chose to sit out a week instead of dealing with the bumps.
“I found the cliff in the first race of the week, which helped me get the high SOF win the following night.”- Trent Ringler
The Class C Truck series had featured some heated sim-racing battles over the past two seasons between two of the top truck teams: BRB Motorsports and Lowline Racing. It was not uncommon for top split races in the Silverados to contain two/thirds of the field from these two teams. At the end of the 2014 Season 1, five of the top six spots in the championship standings were held by either BRB or Lowline drivers.
The fight has migrated to the Class B cars for 2014 Season 2 as BRB moved up to the series full time to join a Lowline effort which had already had some success with Trent Ringler finishing third overall in the first season of 2014.
Ringler staked his claim as the early favorite in the championship with a solid performance at Rockingham earning top honors for the week with 175 points. This followed-up his 174 point sixth place showing at Talladega. In four starts, Ringler took four top-five finishes including a win which gave him the top points for the week and now holds the overall lead in the championship two weeks into the season.
Ringler got his win in the feature race of the week in Tuesday’s 8:00pm 2835 Strength of Field. Anthony Price, who had won the past two championship seasons in the trucks with BRB Motorsports, started from the pole with Ringler lining-up beside him. Price led the early parts of the 90-lap event, setting the overall fastest time on the second lap of the race at 23.935s, while leading 22 laps. However, the experience with the B car started to show as the race wore on as Ringler and teammate, Brian Ammerman, moved on to a 1-2 finish over Jeff Dukehart, and BRB’s Brian Lovingood and Price. Once Ringler got the lead, he stayed on point leading 58 laps.
“Rockingham has been one of my better tracks,” said Goshen, Indiana’s Ringler. “I owe the win there to Lowline Racing and my crew chief this week, Brian Ammerman. You really had to take care of the tires early to have a chance on a long run. I found the cliff in the first race of the week, which helped me get the high SOF win the following night. I look forward to the rest of the season….it should be a good battle.”
Price, who had become a dominant force in the truck series, is up against a learning curve along with his BRB teammates.
“Finding the balance on this car is learning process,” said Price. “The car needs much more fine tuning than the truck and we have gotten off to a slow start in the first few races, but we’re gaining knowledge and momentum as the season progresses. There are some really good drivers over there at Lowline, but we’ll continue to work and race them hard.”
“Finding the balance on this car is learning process . . . but we’re gaining knowledge and momentum as the season progresses.” -Anthony Price
Ringler’s 175 points were tops for the week followed by teammate Ammerman’s 161 points, courtesy of his second place finish in the feature race. Kevin Burris took one win in two starts for third place overall at 154 points. Pro driver, Alex Scribner, grabbed a win earning fourth place points at 151 while Armando Vargas grabbed three wins in four starts to round out the top five for the week with 149 points.
Ringler holds the early overall points lead by five points over Dukehart. Price sits in third 38 points back while Galen Gidman holds fourth trailing by 48. Ammerman rounds out the top five 49 points back.
Division winners in week 2 at Rockingham were: 1 – Trent Ringler 175 (Indiana). 2 – Brian Tate 135 (Carolina). 3 – Jay Brown 112 (Mid-South). 4 – Jeff Kniple 108 (Carolina). 5 – Timothy Wade 93 (Illinois). 6 – Jack Watts 81 (California). 7 – Matthew Gosling 73 (Australia/NZ). 8 – Mike Logsdon 47 (Mid-South). 9 – Robert Forinash Jr. 9 (Virginias). 10 – Scott Martin 7 (New York).
A trip to the heartland is in store for Week 3 as the NASCAR Class B Open Series heads to the .875-mile Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The smooth racing surface provides some great competitive racing, but passing can be very difficult. The combination will most likely test the series driver’s patience . . . as well as the capacity of Nim Cross’ inbox.