As the NASCAR iRacing Class A Series (NiCAS) departs from its visit to the Lady in Black, Brian Schoenberg looks to have established an unassailable lead in the online racing championship. Scoring 230 points with a flag-to-flag victory in his lone race at the Darlington Raceway, Schoenburg heads the standings table by 263 marks. Although the Californian looks to have put his mark on the championship title with three weeks of sim racing still to come, the ensuing battle behind him is proving to be one of the closest the series has seen in its history.

Having zigzagged his way up and down the standings table throughout the season, Justin Roberts found himself hitting another peak of form during Week Nine. Following his haul of 168 points from Darlington, Roberts moves back up to second in the championship by a slender 17 marks, with another digit chalked-up in his top five finishes column. “I just took it easy really and just raced the track,” the Virginias’ Club driver shared at the end of the 100 lap race. “There were a few times I just pulled low on the straight and let people go. I got a lot of Darlington stripes, but I never hit the wall hard though. I just had a little kissing with the Lady in Black. Pretty happy to come out of there incident free and in the top five.”

The Lady in Black proved a stern test for the NASCAR iRacing Class A Series regulars.

The Lady in Black proved to be a stern test for the NASCAR iRacing Class A Series regulars.

Paying the price for Roberts’ promotion up the standings, Brandon Buchberger now finds himself in third position, after failing to make any net gain on his total this week. Despite a podium finish in his solitary race at Darlington, the 123 points gained was his lowest of the season so far, resulting in the score counting as a dropped week. Now just 14 points behind Buchberger, International Club’s Sandeep Banerjee put in his best performance of the season so far to move to fourth in the championship. The 199 points for his Darlington podium means Banerjee joins the four-man battle for the NiCAS runners-up prize.

Making his presence felt after being absent from the NiCAS for a couple of weeks, Jesse Atchison looms large in the mirrors of Roberts, Buchberger and Banerjee. With only seven weeks of results to his name, Atchison is rallying with a late charge.  The 214 points he earned for finishing second behind Schoenburg puts the Atlantic Club driver 120 marks from second position, with a further week of results still to be allocated to his name.

Moving to sixth in the championship after scoring his highest ever total in the NiCAS, Greg Spears took 189 points from the Darlington Speedway. As a result, the Texan leap-frogged his way past Nelson Rivera, who had only just worked his way into the top five two weeks ago. Rivera was hoping to earn more than his eventual 138 points, but the New York Club member struggled to find strong competition in his brace of races.

It’s been a challenge this season to find a high Strength Of Field (SOF) race in the Impala A,” explained the Pro licensed driver. “I had high hopes for a championship run after joining my new team BPS Motorsports at the start of this season. My performance in these cars are greatly improved and it showed again this week as our team finished 1-2-3 in the Tuesday night  race.”

Continuing to ‘mix it up with the big boys,’ Ryan Ameen is holding his own in eighth position, one of two non-first division drivers in the overall top ten. The Plains Club member also had problems finding the ideal racing field, with a swathe of drivers absent from the series’ most challenging circuit. “This track seems to scare a lot of drivers off for the week,” Ameen told inRacingNews. That said, his eyes are firmly fixed on the second division title.  “It ain’t over till it’s over,” he continued.  “That would be my take on the division two championship that’s up for grabs still. I’ve managed to have quite a few strong finishes eight weeks into the season, and really want to keep my momentum where it’s at. If I can peak these final few weeks, things will look pretty good come Week 12.”

Jeff Dukehart now finds himself ninth in the NiCAS championship standings. The 126 points he collected at Darlington failed to give the Mid-South driver a big enough net gain to maintain his seventh spot, dropping him down the rankings, and into the clutches of Division Two’s Otis Aldridge. Ohio-based Aldridge sits just 46 points behind Dukehart and 89 marks off his divisional rival Ameen and will be looking for a strong finish to the season to challenge foe the Division Two title.

Week 10 of the NASCAR iRacing Class A Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway, and many drivers will be glad to relax their white knuckle wheel grip following their visit to the Lady in Black. Whilst Schoenburg’s claim for the 2010 Season One title looks all but complete, the fight behind is getting brutal, as it heads into the final three rounds.

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