Brandon Salvatore completed a feat in the 2011 Season Four that no other iRacer has done before. The Georgia sim racer became the first driver in the history of iRacing to go back-to-back as champion in the NASCAR iRacing.com Tour Modified Series (NiTMS), and the first to win two championships in the six season history of the series.
Salvatore sealed the deal at Thompson International Speedway by topping 77 other sim racers who took the green flag on the Connecticut high banks. Salvatore went to victory lane during Thursday’s 3834 Strength of Field (SoF) race in his final start of the season, leading every one of the race’s 125 laps. Former series champion Herb Engelhart was second, followed by Kevin Walker, Ray Farlow and Samuel Dick. One caution slowed the race for four laps. The top three in this race gained top five spots in the weekly standings thanks to their performances in this race with Salvatore (233) coming home as the weekly winner at Thompson, Engelhart (209) placing third and Walker (186) fourth.
Mitch Miller put up two wins in three starts over Round 12 to put himself in fifth place for the week after the points from his top two starts were factored into his total. Miller’s biggest win also came on Thursday when he topped Taylor Meyn, Jerold John, Brett Osborn and Walker in a 3913 SoF race, the top split race of the week. The race featured three yellow flags and two lead changes between Miller, John and Osborn with Osborn, the pole sitter, leading the most laps (58). Miller started fourth in the event and led the final 28 laps to the checkers. Miller’s total would plummet to 185 points after his second top start was factored-in while Meyn pocketed 214 points from this race to slot him second in the standings for the week.
“Props to Brandon for winning the championship.” — Herb Engelhart
Salvatore was the overall pole sitter for the week with a time of 18.357 seconds. Curt Hunter, Osborn, Marc Pilon and Dick completed the top five in qualifying. Hunter not only took top honors in Week 12 for the Time Trial competition over Osborn, Pilon, Larry Pyrtle and Trent Hullum, he claimed the overall Time Trial crown, falling just two points short of a perfect 800 point season. Hunter finished 13 points up on Nathan McGee. Osborn, Farlow and Pyrtle completed the top five of 283 drivers who made a Time Trial run in a Tour Modified in 2011 Season Four.
Salvatore will go down as the champion by 80 points over Engelhart, 1714 to 1634. Salvatore made 17 starts in 2011 Season Four with seven wins, 14 top fives, 11 poles, 1574 laps completed and 888 laps led. Meyn finished third overall for the season with 1428 points, followed by Derrick Cormier2 (1280) and Walker (1252). In the close Division Two racing title, Jamie Collier bested Farlow by 19 points for the crown. David Markham took home Division Three, Neil Brimble topped Division Four, Joe Gauthier captured Division Five, Joshua Spann won Division Six, Kevin Sockow nailed down Division Seven, David Ross was the man to beat in Division Eight, Division Nine went to Jeffrey Haddock while Jeffrey Petit was the champion in Division Ten. Each division is skill matched at the beginning of the season.
“Props to Brandon for winning the championship,” said Engelhart, who led the championship for the first nine weeks of the season. “A few missed opportunities between Milwaukee, USA and New Hampshire and Brandon was right there.” Engelhart plans on scaling back in 2012 Season One to help develop some of the drivers on his team, Wide Open Racing.
Next up for the NiTMS is the first online racing season of 2012. Who will come out on top? Can Salvatore take his third consecutive title? Be here to find out.
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!