With point leader Brandon Salvatore taking a week off due to work commitments, the NASCAR iRacing.com Tour Modified Series (NiTMS)was there for the taking this week at the Phoenix International Raceway.  However, the sim racer who seized the opportunity was none other than Salvatore’s Wide Open Racing teammate Kevin Walker. Walker, who hails from Cheticamp, Nova Scotia took the overall win for the week, scoring 230 points and edging out a former NiTM champion in the process.

Walker came home the victor in Thursday’s 3676 sof race which featured one caution and three lead changes. Walker led just 27 of the 75 laps on the desert mile to take the win over Shawn Colley, Taylor Meyn, David Colley and Jason Brown2. Meyn led the most laps (35) and turned the quickest lap of the event (26.795 seconds) after starting on the outside of Walker on the front row. Walker and Colley would score 230 and 207 points respectively, putting the pair in the first and third positions at the completion of Week Nine.

Robert “Bobby” Sandt made a strong case for an overall victory in Round Nine but fell five points short in his task. Sandt claimed top honors in a Thursday race two hours prior to the Walker triumph which featured a 3606 sof rating. Sandt earned his victory the hard way, as he started 13th and marched his way through the field, leading ten laps en route to the victory. Finishing in second was Shane Kline, followed by Herbert Engelhart, Derrick Cormier2 and Caleb Shelton. Engelhart led the most laps of the event, leading 48 of the 75 circuits. Sandt and Kline had plenty of reason to celebrate after the race though as their 225 and 207 point totals respectively earned them second and fourth place positions overall for Round Nine.

Completing the top five at Phoenix was Jerold John. John recorded two wins in his pair of starts over the duration of the week at Phoenix with his biggest coming on Saturday during a 3124 sof race. John had a dominating performance, leading all but 15 of the laps completed in the race to best Shane Kline by nearly a second at the finish. Jason Brown2 was third, followed by Rick Webster and Paul Wisniewski. The race was worth 195 points for John.

Brown2 and John Christman made the most starts of the week with six each while Brown2 took the most checkered flags of anyone with four. John (two), Shawn Bagby, Jeremy P Bogdanovitch, Royce Valley, Dustin Seney, Walter Holmes, David Jaques, Shawn Sage, Sandt and Walker also etched their names in the record books as winners at Phoenix. Sandt was the quickest in qualifying (26.666 seconds), edging-out Jaques, Jamie Collier, Kline and Engelhart. Jaques inched closer to the Time Trial title with the win at Phoenix, besting Sandt, Collier, Kline and Timothy Heard in the “beat the clock” competition.

Salvatore’s 1467 point total remains atop the point standings with three weeks remaining in the season. Engelhart sits in second overall and in first place for Division One with 1311 markers. John (1273), Meyn (1263) and Walker (1212) complete the top five overall. Bogdanovitch (Three), Bagby (Four), William Kidd (Five), Timothy Finnegan (Six), Christman (Seven), Dave Rudd (Eight), Devin Chapman (Nine) and Ken Causey (Ten) each lead their respective divisions through nine weeks of racing.

Next up for the NiTMS drivers is the USA International Speedway. While the overall crown is all but locked up for Salvatore, everyone else has something to fight for as the Tour winds its way down the stretch drive in 2011 Season Three. Find out here next week who will come out on top in Florida.

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

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