Daytona International Speedway played host to the 2nd Annual Sonny Pancoast Relay For Life 200. The event, organized by NorthEast Online Stock Car Association (NEOSCA) commissioner Rob Pitman, is designed to be a fun event for sim racers everywhere with the sole purpose to raise money for Relay for Life and to spread awareness of cancer research, treatment and prevention. This year’s event was yet another success as $800.00 was raised by entry fees, sponsors and viewers on www.WebRacingNetwork.com. 100% of money raised was donated to Relay For Life, Middleton, NJ in memoriam of Sonny Pancoast. Mike Shelton won the event, but the real winners were the Relay For Life and everyone that participated in the event and watched the broadcast on WRN.
Defending Relay For Life 200 race champion Jeremy Harrington wasted no time in qualifying winning the pole by .003 seconds over Bill Brown. Twenty eight drivers took the green flag. Early on it became very apparent that with the fixed set-up and the big hole the Chevy Silverado punches in the air, no two truck tandem would be able to break away from the pack for long. This led to tight pack racing and several lead changes all night long. In all there were thirty seven lead changes among fourteen different drivers. The race was slowed by five cautions for sixteen laps.
The key to victory in this race was positioning your self in the right spot for the last few laps. Carolina driver, Mike Shelton did the best job of staying up front all night long. With the exception of an early pit stop Shelton kept his #33 truck in the top ten all night long and was able to lead the most laps(16) in the event. The turning point of the race came when the caution fell with eight laps to go setting up the final restart of the event. Brandon Oddo would restart on the inside line as the leader with previous NEOSCA champion and veteran sim racer George Burns2 behind him. Shelton would line up second on the outside line with Brandon Buie behind him. On the restart the bottom line moved first and started to pull away, but then the tandem of Shelton and Buie quickly hooked up and never looked back. The duo pulled ahead and cleared the tandem of Oddo and Burns. The final caution of the race came out as drivers scrambling for positions behind the top four made contact, thus ending the race and giving the victory to Shelton.
Mike had this to say in victory lane, “The 2012 Relay for Life tops the list for my single biggest iRacing victory. Superspeedways have not been kind to me, but the Relay for Life 200 made up for all of that. Qualifying well, I was able to stay up front for most of the race, and only got shuffled outside of the top 10 during a couple of pit-stops under caution. My teammate, Skip Crider, picked me up both times and together we were able to work back to the front. Crider was clipped and taken out with about 20 to go, which left me wondering who I was going to work with. Thankfully, that partner would be Brandon Buie.
“The 2012 Relay for Life tops the list for my single biggest iRacing victory.” — Mike Shelton
“I think that most every adult has gone through the personal experience of losing someone to Cancer, whether it be a family member, friend, or neighbor. I lost my Grandfather to Cancer on June 15th, 2010, and that was the toughest ordeal I’ve had to endure. The Relay for Life charity gave us drivers a chance to come together as a single team and contribute to the fight. I want to thank every driver that gridded up for this event, as each and every one donated what they could in order to surpass 2011’s donation total. All were winners in this event. Most importantly, my thanks goes out to Rob Pitman, who organized the event. The 2012 event surpassed the money raised from last year’s event, and Rob worked very hard to make that happen. Thank you Mr. Pittman for leading the fight.”
Race organizer Rob Pitman is already planning and looking forward to 3rd Annual Sonny Pancoast Relay For Life 200. Pitman said, “The whole thing has been a huge success, and I thank all the sponsors, Timothy Clever from www.tcscustomdiecast.com, Kevin Bobbit at iRacing, Robbie Johnston (robbiejohnstonracing.com) for his paints, and WRN for broadcasting this event. We’re already looking forward to next year!”
For information about next years event stay tuned to www.NEOSCA.org and also the hosted race and private league section of the iRacing forums.