Bills led 39 of 50 laps including the last one.

The Street Stocks C Class travelled to the Valley of the Sun and its one mile oval known as Phoenix International Raceway.  A total of a dozen drivers took to the track to contest the first official race of 2014 S1.

This race saw no qualifiers, so the starting order was down to iRating, Matt Kingsbury came out with the highest followed by Shannon Segler and Tim Bills on a grid with a few new runners to the series including Jake Cameron and Marco Barcelos.

The green flag dropped and they were away.  From the first turn alone the race looked to be an exciting one as Kingsbury, Segler and Pires broke away from the trailing field before disaster struck when Pires and Segler tangled, forcing Pires onto the grass before he re-joined the field in P10.

Pires tries an unconventional line into Turn Three.

Kingsbury sprinted to a big gap from this crash and took charge of the online race, stretching his lead to 1.6 seconds.  But he made a crucial mistake, running wide into Turn Three allowing the chasing pack of Segler, Bills and Roberson to come charging down on his heels. Perhaps as the result of debris on the track, three went wide and into the fence.  A fortunate Barcelos got away safely before the cars of Randy Koshatka and Seth Webb collected Liam Gordon’s #7 entry.

This brought out the first caution of the race and also saw our first retirements from Webb, Koshatka and Gordon. On the restart it was Kingsbury still leading the way from Segler, Roberson and Bills. This foursome looked the top runners for the race, but they still had 40 laps to determine who would cross the line first.

Quicker than you could say It looks like everything is going well,  Kingsbury got it horribly wrong coming out of Turn 2.  He tried to save it but hit the wall and rebounded, giving Segler no choice but to spin in tandem with Kingsbury.

Kingsbury getting lose out of Turn Two.

This brought-out the second caution after just 12 laps.  Kingsbury took advantage of the yellow to pit for new, round tires and do some damage repair, while Cameron, Barcelos and Pires came down pit lane to take tires and a splash of fuel as the rest of the field stayed out. With Kingsbury in the pits, Bills assumed the lead while, despite his spin, Segler still sat in second place followed by the underdog Allison.

Bills and Segler battle hard for the lead.

On the restart Bills, Segler and Pires all broke away from the field with Kingsbury was dropping back to seventh behind his team mate Cameron. Segler and Bills began to gap Pires and enjoyed a two second lead by the halfway point, with Cameron, Barcelous, Allison and Kingsbury giving chase and Roberson and Ross bringing up the rear.

The field began to spread out with only 20 laps remaining, and we were hoping to see the action hot up.  With 10 to go it was Bills leading from Segler and Pires, with Kingsbury trying to make a late charge for the top three as the yellow came out for Barcelous, who rolled all on his own on the exiting Turn Four.

Barcelous getting it all terribly wrong exiting of Turn Four.

Now it was anybody’s race, as the restart saw Bills, Segler, Pires and Kingsbury ready to fight for the top podium position. But who would cross the line first?  Coming to the restart with just two miles to go, the leaders exited Turn Four and Roberson got loose, bringing-out the yellows and ending the race under caution – much to the relief of Bills who didn’t have to fend off the late charges.

They came across the line in the order of the restart, with Bills, Segler and Pires taking the top three. Kingsbury made an excellent charge from the back after his nasty accident to claim the fourth spot ahead of Allison with Cameron, the final driver to go the distance, in sixth.

Segler finished runner-up.

Third-placed Pires completed the podium finishers.

I’d like to take this time to invite anyone who wants to come run this great series with us to come and join in with the action.

Full result and statistics can be found here:

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