Thomas D Smith danced with the draft all the way to the top of the NASCAR iRacing.com Class C Series at Talladega Superspeedway during Week Eight competition at the popular track. Over 2,200 sim racers tried their hand at the unique breed of online oval racing and when the dust settled and the points were tallied, it was the 2011 Season Three runner-up who stood tall over all who dared to tackle the 2.66-mile tri-oval.

Smith’s win came in a 4565 Strength of Field (SoF) race on Tuesday in which he led 17 of 50 lap en route to the win. Pole sitter Adrian Duncan was second in the event, followed by Dylan Duval, Rodney Harris and David Rattler. NASCAR iRacing Pro Series driver Matt Whitten led the most laps in the race (18) but faded to the 10th spot in the race. Three cautions slowed the event while the lead was exchanged five times. Smith scored 287 points for the win while Duval’s 255 point total from this race was good enough for fifth place for the week.

The lead changes quickly and frequently when the NiCCS travels to 'Dega.

Brandon Buchberger was awarded with second place for the week after he finished second in a 4740 SoF race to Patrick Baldwin. Like many others who couldn’t get enough of the Alabama track, Baldwin made multiple starts on the week, which prevented his week-end point total from reflecting his performance. In Baldwin’s big win, he led 11 laps in the race which saw just one caution but 18 lead changes amongst eight leaders. Buchberger was second, followed by former two-time Online 500 champ Bob Bryant, Carson McClelland and Bryce Dublahan, who led the most laps (12) of the race. Buchberger exited this race with 283 points, second best for the week.

Paul Kusheba took third place for the week after three starts on the week. His big win came on Monday in which he led just one lap en route to the win. Brodie Kostecki was second, followed by Howard LeBon, Brandon Kettelle and Duval. Baldwin led 24 laps in the race before fading to 10th place. The race was rated at 4637 SoF, featured four cautions and saw six lead changes amongst four drivers.

The second race which factored-into Kusheba’s point total also was big in determining Chad Coleman’s fourth place overall point tally. Coleman was the winner during Wednesday’s 4448 SoF race in which he led the final lap in a caution free race. Kusheba finished second – by just TWO THOUSANDTHS of a second! Completing the top five was Brandon Kettelle, Carson “Thsuper” Downs and GSRacing.net standout Allen Krier. Baldwin once again led the most laps of the race, pacing the field for 28 of the 50 completed laps. Coleman went on to make three additional starts for the week which brought his point total for the week to 255 points. Kusheba’s total after his top two races were factored in resulted in 279 markers.

John Sanna made the most starts of the week, appearing on the grid 53 times at Talladega. Jonathan Goke had the draft mastered during Week Eight as he took a week high of 16 wins. Arthur Lucas was on the top when it came to qualifying with a time of 50.970 seconds around Talladega. Duncan, Helge Gravemeyer, Dave Swindell and Matthew Bittikofer completed the top five of over 1,000 qualifiers at Talladega. Smith nailed- down the Time Trial competition, besting Michael Tasillo, Derrick Stone, Justin Collver and Albert Shultz in Round Nine of this timed, single truck discipline of NiCCS racing.

The series headed to the shortest track on the schedule for Week Nine of the series as the stars of the NiCCS took to “The Paperclip,” aka Martinsville Speedway. Byron Daley was the driver to beat on the week, recording six wins in six starts at the popular short track. His biggest win came on Wednesday when he led all but eight laps in his road to victory in a 3631 SoF race over Dylan Slepain, Kevin McCann, Zach Hudson and Phil Juhring. Six cautions slowed the event while the lead was exchanged six times. With Daley’s multiple starts on the week, it let Slepian take the overall win of the week with the 207 points. McCann’s 190 points placed him in fourth place for Round Nine.

PJ Stergios placed third overall for the week after his win at Martinsville on Saturday’s 3120 SoF race. Stergios led the most laps in the race, pacing the field for 61 laps and finished ahead of Buchberger, Austin Lamberth, Brad Ferrell and Chase Elliott. Four leaders swapped the lead eight times while nine yellow flags slowed the pace of the race. Stergios took home 193 points for the win.

Daley was the victor in the race which saw Tyler D Hudson obtain enough points to take fifth overall for Round Nine. Daley led 71 of the 120 laps in the race which featured six yellow flags, six lead changes and was rated at 3176 SoF. Hudson finished nearly three seconds back in second, crossing the line ahead of Kevin Jones, Trevor Edwards and Brandon “the Boss” Atkinson. Hudson took 182 points away from this race.  Daley finished Round Nine with 202 points, completed 720 laps, led 452 of those circuits (63% of the laps he completed were up front) and started on one pole with an average start of third.

From the wide open spaces of Talladega, the NiCCS journeyed to the close confines of "The Paperclip."

Lamberth won the most races of the week, taking eight checkered flags. Travis Henderson started the most races, gracing the Martinsville grid 32 times in Week Nine. Alex Warren topped the charts in qualifying with a 20.019 second lap, faster than that of Kenneth OKeefe, Heath Hindman, Eric Hoggarth and Jason Karlavige. Don Klein topped the Time Trials competition, besting Trenton Moriarity, Smith, Ben Burnett and Stone.

With just three weeks remaining in the NiCCS in 2011 Season Four, Buchberger leade Warren in the championship hunt by 42 points, 1700 to 1658. Seventeen points behind Warren sits Smith with 1641 points. David Krikorian and Adam Gilliland hold 1495 and 1451 points respectively, essentially knocking them out of title contention with three races to go and four drop weeks factored into the final point championship tally. Greg Evans, William Dick, Lamberth, Milt Matice, Morgan Schooley, Kevin Sockow, Dan Hass, Brian Guedesse3 and Frank Hudson lead their respective divisions from Two to Ten after nine weeks of racing.

Next up for the tailgaters of the NASCAR iRacing Class C Series is the newest venue on the schedule in the Kentucky Speedway. Who will take one step closer to the championship? Will it be Buchberger, Warren or Smith? Find out here, next week at inRacingNews.

Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!

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