With the demanding challenge of Rockingham now in the rear view mirror, the NASCAR iRacing.com Class A Series (NiCAS) could let it all hang out as the series visited Talladega Superspeedway for a critical Week Nine of racing. Located in Alabama, Talladega Superspeedway has developed a reputation for surprise winners, and incredible crashes over its long history. Both of which would be on display when the NiCAS flooded the gates into the monstrous 2.66 mile high banked oval to get the drafting party started.
After a slow week at Rockingham, the series got a much needed jolt at Talladega. With point totals nearly doubling, and many top ranked drivers strapping back in, the series hit the high banks with a head of steam.
While there was a great amount of surprise point totals on the week, the man out front surprised absolutely no one. Long time sim racing veteran and current NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship (NiSWC) driver Tyler Hudson made all the right moves in the draft to come in with 341 points in his only start of the week. Steven Eszenyi was the man to beat for the majority of the 5352 SoF race on Sunday night, but Hudson worked to the front with five laps to go and never looked back. Eszenyi held on to second, ahead of a very impressive run for Malik Ray who came home third in a race flooded with top level talent. The NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series (NiPS) tandem of Dustin Montgomery and Carson Downs rounded out the top five in an action packed race.
In a race Thursday night that fell just short of being the top rated race of the week, Michael Guest took the win and 339 points in a race crippled by cautions. The field was slowed six times for twenty three laps in the seventy lap race, at a track where caution laps take nearly two and a half minutes to complete. Other drivers escaping the chaos included Chad Coleman, who is no stranger to superspeedway success, Peter Bennett, a stellar run from Matt Sanders, and Carson Downs once again rounded out the top five in the 5297 SoF race.
The participation numbers were staggering as many drivers got sucked into the madness and uncertainty of restrictor plate racing. Over one thousand drivers took to the track, with seventy five drivers making ten or more starts on the week. With incredible numbers like that it makes it extremely tough to stand above the rest, but a few drivers managed to do so.
Plate track ace Adrian Duncan led the way in wins, going to victory lane in eight of his seventeen starts, putting distance between himself and the rest in win totals. John Cordon strung together a wild stat line, starting thirty one races (most starts of anyone) on the week, winning five (second to Duncan), and completed 2043 laps in the process. Despite the outrageous amount of races Cordon competed in, he still managed just under 200 points on the week, and an average finish inside the top ten. Also not going unnoticed, Jimmy Kostarelos had arguably the most impressive stat of the week when it came to on track ability. Kostarelos raced six times, completing all the laps without scoring a single incident. All while turning an average starting position of fifteenth, into an average finishing position of sixth.
With nine weeks now in the books, we begin to get a clear cut look at the championship fight and the drivers involved. However, Michael Conti is trying to make it as small of a fight as possible, as he has taken the points lead and ran with it. Now clear of Brandon Buie by 380 points, the NiSWC driver has his eyes set on bringing home a trophy during the NiSWC off season.
It is one extreme to the other as the series moves on from the high banked 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway, and heads northeast for the relatively flat one mile track in Loudon, New Hampshire. It goes without saying that the contrast between the two tracks is immense, and will have teams scrambling to get the fine tuning mastered in time. New Hampshire Motor Speedway has provided a shake up to many NiCAS seasons in the past, and it is a safe bet that it could happen again when the series makes a return to the treacherous confines next week. As always be sure to check back at inRacingNews next week for a full recap and top stories coming out of Week Ten.