April 21st, 2016 by Chris Wolfson
After a spectacular season opener at Martinsville, the Bootleg Outlaws made the trip north to Stafford Springs, CT, and the home of the SK Modifieds at Stafford Speedway. Matt Shinoski (#35) headed into the race with a single point lead over Richard Blake (#66) in the points standings at this early point in the season. With starting position dictated by inverting the top eight finishers from the previous week, Jeff Sharp (#49) would lead the field of sim racers to the green at Stafford.
Sharp duly jumped out to a quick lead with J.R. Shepherd (#98) tucking into the second position ahead of an intense battle for third between Joe Marks (#3), Tim Knott (#41), and John Holcomb (#69).
Caution would slow the race as it neared the halfway point and reset the field, but Sharp continued his hold on the top spot. Shepherd, Marks, and Brian Neff (#60) looked to be the spoilers as the race restarted on lap 49. Marks got loose, allowing Neff to slip into the third spot and, unable to get back to the bottom of the track, watched as a freight train of cars slipped by underneath. Worse yet, with 45 laps remaining, Richard Blake (#66) made slight contact with Marks, sending him around. Ralph Conner (#58) had no place to go and made heavy, head-on contact with Marks sending both cars to the pits with significant damage.
The green flag was out with 40 laps remaining with Neff sitting in the third position looking to spoil the relatively smooth nights Sharp and Shepherd had enjoyed thus far.
With 20 laps remaining, the action intensified as Shepherd made a bold pass on Sharp heading into turn one with Neff following through on the inside, relegating Sharp to third after dominating the first 80 laps.
Bootleg fireworks erupted again with 17 laps to go when Neff make contact with Shepherd as they exited turn two and headed down the back straightaway. Both cars spun to the inside of the track allowing Sharp to re-take the race lead. Neff and Shepherd soon gathered things up and and got moving in the correct direction, so the race remained under green.
The final caution would wave with eight laps remaining after a huge crash that saw Lowell Jewell (#5) smack the wall of Turn 4 and collect Brad Spidle (#76), sending him on a wild ride down the straightaway. The resulting caution set the stage for a one lap shootout for all the glory.
The field lined up for the restart with defending series champion Donnie Moore (#26) filling potential first-time winner Sharp’s rear view mirror. The suspense was short-lived, however, as Sharp got a great restart and quickly built a car-length gap back to Moore to pick up his first Bootleg Racing League Outlaw Modified victory. Moore came home second ahead of Holcomb.
“That was a fun race. The car was hooked up.” – Jeff Sharp
“That was a fun race. The car was hooked up,” said Sharp from victory lane.
The Bootleg Racing League heads to Concord Speedway next Saturday night to do battle on the tricky triangle. Be sure to check out the live Global SimRacing Channel’s broadcast on iRacing Live at 9:15EST to catch all the sim racing action of the Bootleg Racing League.
You can see all the action from Stafford Speedway at https://youtu.be/lPFSctm1Gng.