Week Seven of 2012 Season 1 saw the NASCAR iRacing.com Class B Series travel to the most popular short track in the country, Bristol Motor Speedway. The high banks of Bristol create exciting online racing with flaring tempers to boot. In all, 565 drivers ran at least one race at the short half mile while 181 drivers attempted at least one qualifying run.
The high Strength of Field race took place at 8:30 pm EST on Thursday night, an hour earlier than usual do to the recent time change. The race rated a 3293 SoF and paid championship 209 points to win. Andrew Shirley (Mid-South) would come away with the victory after a late race pass on Christopher Arndt (Carolina). Although Shirley dominated the race, pit strategy in the waning laps nearly cost him the victory.
“I started the race great and led the first 100 laps or so until a car got off the brakes, rolled down the track and spun me after the yellow came out causing me to not be able to pit with everyone else. That set me back a bit but I was able to work my way back up and make a pass on Chris for the win.” Shirley said after the race. “I didn’t have a clue I was going to be that fast and was hoping for a top five in my first ETV broadcast race and second week back in the B car.”
“I didn’t have a clue I was going to be that fast . . .” — Andrew Shirley
In total, Shirley led 106 of the 130 laps after starting on the pole. Phil Juhring (New Jersey) almost made it three in a row but came-up one position short, finishing in the second spot and earning 200 points in the bargain. Ryan Ingle (Mid-South) netted 191 points for third with Fausto Bessa Gomes (Iberia) and Brandon Buie (Atlantic) rounding-out the top five and netting 182 and 174 points respectively. Arndt was the only other driver, besides Shirley, to led a lap, running out front for 24 laps before being caught in a wreck near the finish.
While Shirley won the top race of the week, Juhring wound-up as the week’s big winner. He finished in the top spot in the the weekly standings after netting 200 points in the week’s SoF race. Ingle finished the week in second after his third place finish in Thursday’s race. Gomes and Buie would finish the week in third and fourth after finishing fourth and fifth in the SoF race. Jeff Hale Sr. rounded-out the top five in the weekly standings after taking a win and 172 points from his only race. Of the five, Hale was the only driver to not compete in the weekly SoF race.
After seven weeks of racing, Buie still holds the top spot in the standings. Buie was able to net 174 points at Bristol, which brought his season total to 1242. Brad Mahar (New England) still holds the second position after Week Seven. Mahar only collected 125 points which brings his total to 1161 points, 81 out of the top position. Juhring maintained third position, bringing his season total to 1156 points, while John Bunton (Carolina) and Jeffrey Parker (Florida) swapped positions after a week of racing in Thunder Valley. Bunton now finds himself in fourth position with 1074 points after earning 148 points during Week Seven. Parker slipped to fifth position after only collecting 121 points at Bristol, bringing his season total to 1071.
The fastest lap of the week for went to Shirley, who lapped the half mile speedbowl in 14.885s, a shade quicker than Armando Vargas’ (California) best effort, a 14.895s. Juhring (14.925s) finished the week in third while Brodie Kostecki (Australia/NZ) finished in the fourth position with a 14.927s ahead of Peter Bennett (Connecticut) and his 14.943 second lap.
Week Eight sees the NiCBS series travel to Michigan International Speedway, a two mile oval known for its speed rather than the tight racing of Bristol. As the season enters the home stretch, the battle for the championship heats up. Will Juhring be able to keep his hot streak going or will a newcomer like Shirley spoil the party? Found out next week at inRacingNews!