Brandon Salvatore took a huge step forward this week in his efforts to win the NASCAR iRacing.com Tour Modified crown in 2011 Season Three by taking the checkered flag in the top-rated online race at the Stafford Motor Speedway. The Wide Open Racing driver captured a big win on Thursday that shook the ground of the point picture after Round Five of the 12 week season.
Salvatore led all but one of the 100-laps at the Stafford oval to take the victory in the 3606 sof race on the first day of the new month. Just one caution slowed the event and saw Salvatore gap second place Ray Farlow by over two seconds at the finish. Derrick Cormier2 finished third and was followed to the line by Kevin Walker and 2011 Season Two champ Herb Engelhart. With their finishes in this race, Salvatore (225 points) and Farlow (202 points) were credited with the top two spots for the fifth week of racing in the Tour Modified division.
Taylor Meyn came home with one win in his only start of the week to capture third place overall for the week. Meyn’s win came on Thursday in a 2946 sof race in which Meyn led 93 laps from the outside pole for the victory. Rick Webster was second, followed by Cormier2, Paul Wisniewski and Chris Hughson. Meyn brought home 184 coveted championship points for the winning effort in a race slowed by just one caution flag. Webster’s finish was worthy of 165 points, resulting in a fifth place overall finish for the week.
Fourth for the week belonged to Engelhart. Engelhart’s win in a caution-free, 2643 sof race on Saturday was enough to grab the champ 165 points. Engelhart led wire-to-wire from the outside pole and bested Salvatore by a half second with Walker, Jeremy P Bogdanovitch and Carl Sundberg completing the top five at the finish.
It wasn’t easy for Engelhart though, as he explained post race. “Stafford is a slippery little joint, smoothness and finesse pay off here. We took care of our tires and we were there at the end.”
Cormier2 made the most appearances of any sim racer at Stafford Motor Speedway this past week with six while he and Jerold John each took home a pair of wins at the Connecticut speed plant. Levi Poland, Shawn Bagby, Troy Talman, Brandon Munroe, Matthew Close, Eugenio Mazza, Salvatore, Engelhart, Webster, Meyn and Tom Sullivan2 each took a solitary trip to victory lane over the fifth week of action on the Tour. Salvatore was the quickest in qualifying, topping the field with a 18.243 second lap. Engelhart, Farlow, Cormier2 and Talman each posted top five speeds in the sessions which ran throughout the week. Salvatore made it a clean sweep by taking top honors in the Time Trials, putting in an effort better than David Jaques, John, Shane Kline and Farlow.
Salvatore, the Division Two leader is also the overall point leader in the series after five weeks with 924 points. Forty-one points is the gap back to second overall and Division One leader John. Royce Valley (874), Farlow (842, Division Two) and Engelhart (819) complete the top five in points. Bogdanovitch and Munrow have just three points between them in the third division while Shawn Bagby, William Kidd, Timothy Finnegan, Leandro Reuter, Dave Rudd and Jeffrey Haddock each have comfortable leads in Divisions Four through Nine respectively. Thermon Shinholster Jr leads Augusto Saldana by just two points in Division Ten.
The NASCAR iRacing Tour Modified Series now heads to the South Boston Speedway in Virginia. Can Untamed Motorsports step up to the plate or will Salvatore continue his mid-season surge on the rest of the field? Find out here, next week at inRacingNews.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!