The NASCAR iRacing Class C Fixed Series approaches the conclusion of Season One with a tight battle shaping up for the championship. After spending Week Nine at Martinsville Speedway, 3,522 sim racers made the virtual trip to Darlington Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway for the tenth and eleventh weeks of action in the series.
Darlington (Top Strength of Field)
Under clear skies, with temperatures in the mid-70s, NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series competitor Brandon Kettelle (Florida) drove his No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado into Darlington’s famed victory lane. After starting from the third spot and leading just six laps in the event, Kettelle was able to hold off fellow NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series competitor Josh Berry (Mid-South) to take the victory by just 0.347 seconds. Berry was able to lead seven laps during the event as well as turn the fastest lap. Championship contender Matthew Wright2 (New York) started from the sixth spot in the No. 6 Silverado and quickly worked his way into the top five before settling for the third position as the checkered flag flew. The remainder of the top five went to a pair of Atlantic Club members in Tyler Hill and NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Brandon Buie. The 4714 strength of field was slowed five times for caution for a total of 17 laps and saw four lead changes among three drivers.
Atlanta (Top Strength of Field)
With the heat bearing down on the Atlanta Motor Speedway, it provided a nice slippery surface for the top strength of field race to take place on. Being able to handle the Silverado slightly loose around the 1.5-mile speedway proved to be very beneficial to the success of two-time NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Ray Alfalla (Florida). He was able to overcome the loose conditions and drive his No. 1 machine into Atlanta’s victory lane after leading 17 of the event’s 35 laps en route to a 0.086 second margin of victory over second place Brenden Koehler (Pennsylvania). The final podium spot went to Plains Club member Michael Dewell who started shotgun on the field in the No. 20 Silverado and methodically worked his way into the top three as the checkered flag flew on the event. The final two spots in the top five were held down by a couple iRacers from the Northeast United States. Steven Eszenyi (New England) filled the fourth spot while Wright claimed the final spot in the top five. The 4856 strength of field was slow just twice for caution for a total of seven laps and saw twelve lead changes among five drivers.
Darlington (Weekly Standings)
By earning the victory in the week’s top strength of field event, Kettelle was able to net 297 championship points for his efforts during the week. Second place point earner for the week was Berry, who made two starts and recorded one victory, earning 280 points in the process. The third spot for the week went to Wright, who added 264 points to his season total. The final spots in the top five belong to Hill and Eszenyi, who added 247 and 241 points, respectively.
Atlanta (Weekly Standings)
Usually by earning the win in the week’s top strength of field means you also have accumulated the most championship points for the week. That was once again the case during the week as Alfalla netted 306 points for his efforts. Second place finisher in the top strength of field event, Koehler, added 289 points to his season total after making just one start during the week and recording a top five. Dewell, who finished third in the week’s top strength of field event, also made one other start during the week, but it was the third finish in the top strength of field event which earned him 273 points. Positions four and five were secured by Eszenyi and Wright, who earned 257 and 241 championship points apiece.
Darlington is not only tough in regards to racing, but it’s also tough to complete a fast lap by yourself. Here are a group of drivers who were able navigate the speedway at record pace. The top five overall qualifiers for the week are listed below:
- Ray Alfalla 28.426
- Anthony Kernich 28.467
- Ryan Lowe 28.479
- Eric Hoggarth 28.506
- Stevie Minson 28.517
Normally Atlanta is one of the easier tracks in qualifying on the iRacing service, the 90 degree temperatures this week provided a little bit of an issue in regards to sliding the tires. Even with a little bit of a struggle, the times at the top of the qualifying chart were extremely close. The top five overall qualifiers for the week are listed below:
- Steven Eszenyi 30.490
- Michael Smith 30.497
- Randy Hockaday 30.498
- Anthony Kernich 30.499
- Tom Moustakas 30.503
Season Standings (after Atlanta)
With just one week remaining in the season, the battle for the championship is heating up to be one of the closest in iRacing history. Wright currently holds a one point lead over Eszenyi heading into the final week at Richmond. Jordy Lopez Jr (New Jersey) currently holds down the third spot and is within striking distance (-18) heading into the final week of action. Malik Ray (Carolina) and Adam Gilliland (Texas) round out the top five, but are 92 and 186 points behind Wright for the overall lead.
With 11 weeks of online racing now in the record books, the series heads to Richmond International Raceway for 55 laps of slipping and sliding around the three-quarter mile speedway. Check back in a week’s time for a full recap of the action from Richmond and to see who was able to come away with the Season One championship.