The NASCAR iRacing.com Super Late Model Series, traveled south to the Sunshine State to virtually revive the USA International Speedway. The speedway was closed in August of 2008 but still remains popular in online racing. This week’s feature race the Strength of Field was 2311 and saw all the drama of traditional short track racing, with sim-racers beating and banging and a dramatic drive from the back with a late race mistake determining the outcome.
The race was decided in the final 20 laps, as three late race cautions bunched the field back up and allowed drivers who had earlier issues to make the drive back to the front. Collin Allman and Kenneth Lang had controlled the pace for the first 60+ laps, with Lang leading eight laps and Allman leading 56. But as the field bunched up Stan Bragg Jr found himself back in the top five after a earlier incident with A.J. Roper put him to the back. Roper, likewise, found himself back in the top 5 after he spun off of Turn Two.
The final restart saw Bragg pin himself to the bumper of Allman, preventing Lang from getting to the inside and dropping him into the clutches of Roper. With Allman and Bragg separating themselves from Roper and Lang, the race turned into a two car battle with just seven laps to go.
With Bragg piling-on the pressure, Allman was forced to drive hard and with just five laps to go he made the mistake that would cost him the race: Coming out of Turn Two he touched the apron, breaking the rear end of the car loose. Bragg slid by on the high side with his car also breaking loose as well, before a quick feather of the throttle straightened the car. Allman was not so fortunate and slammed into the inside wall, securing the victory for Bragg while Roper held -off Lang for P2.
The race pace was slowed down for five cautions for 23 laps, but three cautions would determine the final finishing order. After coming off a long green flag run the yellow flew on Lap 42 after contact between Wesley Hendley and Roper in Turn One spun Hendley and bunched the field again. The old saying ‘cautions breed cautions’ again came true as, soon after the restart, Roper and Joshua Crain got together entering Turn Three with a spinning Crain collecting Gage Rivait, Keith Y Sherman, and Joshua Wolf.
The final yellow flew on Lap 54 when Hendley, mistakenly believing his was repaired, pulled onto the track only to find out his car had no power. He put himself on the high side coming out of Turn Two but, with his pace so slow and a pack of cars approaching, Sean Rafferty had no place to go and slammed into the rear of Hendley’s car.
With the podium set the race to complete the top five came down to Allman and Cory Bowks. Allman recovered from his contact with the wall and rejoined the conventional race surface going into Turn Three forcing Bowks to the high side. Allman battled his less than pristine car for the remaining laps and held onto fourth place until final lap when he — once again — found dropped the left side of car under the yellow line and got loose. Chasing the car up the track, Allman opened the door for Bowks to power past into P4 claimed P4 while Allman was left wondering ‘what if’ and settled for fifth.
- 1. Stan Bragg Jr 8. Gage Rivait –5.965
- 2. A.J. Roper –0.759 9. Sean Rafferty –9.821
- 3. Kenneth Lang –1.340 10. Joshua Crain –5 Laps
- 4. Cory Bowks –2.901 11. Keith Y Sherman –23 Laps
- 5. Colin Allman –3.038 12. Wesley Hendley –26 Laps
- 6. Joshua Wolf –3.571 13. Jordan Anderson –51 Laps
- 7. Jimmie Stevens –4.381 14. Chad Myszka –69 Laps
Week Seven sees the Super Late Models head Martinsville Speedway, a track known far and wide for close, hard racing. Aptly nicknamed “The Paperclip,” this unique short track poses many challenges to the sim-racers. With long straightaways drivers can get great runs off Turns Two and Four and work on the pass before corner entry . . . or they can rely on the tried ‘n true method of the bump and run. Should be an interesting and action-packed week of online racing in the NASCAR Super Late Model Series.