Division Two point leader Mark Wilsey entered Week Eight of the iRacing.com Late Model Tour in the top five overall. When he left Thompson International Speedway (TIS) after seven days of online racing, he had himself an overall weekly win, second place in overall points to his credit and the satisfaction of knowing he had established the fact that he can contend for the top prize in short track racing on the iRacing service.
Wilsey’s big win came on Christmas Eve during a 2812 Strength of Field (SoF) race. Wilsey led all 50 laps from the pole position on the Connecticut high banks and came home nearly three seconds up on second place driver Sandro Vitelli. Late Model and sim racing veteran Jeff Conover was third, followed by Matt Bussa and Dynasty Motorsports’ Tony Dugan. Wilsey captured 175 points for the week while the performances of Vitelli (163 points) and Conover’s (151 points) rewarded them with second and fifth overall respectively for the week at Thompson.
It wasn’t Wilsey who took away the top split race of the week, though. That honor belonged to NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship driver Tyler D Hudson, who took the win in a 3012 SoF race on Boxing Day. Hudson started from the pole in the race and led wire-to-wire in the event over Mark Lambert, Ryan Bergenty, Brian Macklin and Todd Taylor. Hudson’s margin of victory was two seconds. The top two in the race, Hudson and Lambert, would find themselves in the top five in the points at the end of the week with each making multiple starts during Round Seven. Lambert took six green flags for the week, winning in three and finishing with 153 points, the third best amongst the 713 drivers to make the virtual tow to TIS. For his part, Hudson made nine starts and won in all but one of them – that one start happened to be in the race which Wilsey won. Hudson’s point total of 152 markers would slot him into fourth overall at Thompson.
Hudson and Hezzy Hardee shared the top spot when it came to the most wins by a driver in the seven day trip to Connecticut with eight. Doug Kaster made the most starts of the week with 23. Kevin Burris scored the pole with a time of 19.818 seconds, quicker than Ian Blanchard, Wilsey, Hudson and Philip Geiss. Burris also took the top honors in the Time Trial competition at Thompson over Kevin J Myers, Scott Burlovich, Heath Smith and Thomas D Smith.
Burris leaves Thompson with a 98 point cushion over Wilsey (1217 to 1119). Myers sits third with 1106 points with Trenton Moriarity (1061) and Conover (1010) completing the top five after seven weeks. David Rotruck, Jeremy Ahlum, Sean Sewell, Brody Hays, Stephen Morsillo, Mike Hasty, Brett Newberry and Christoher Curtis lead their respective skill-matched divisions with four weeks to go in the season.
The next stop for the iRacing.com Late Model Tour took place at the Richmond International Speedway during Week Nine of the series. One of those who needed a strong run to keep their championship hopes alive was Moriarity . . . and he did just that by taking the overall win at Richmond.
Moriarity’s big win of Week Nine came on Friday when the Washington sim racer took control of a 2879 SoF race. Moriarity started in the first spot, led every one of the race’s 45 laps and took the victory over Daniel Williamson, Kevin Moody, Michael Luna and Kenneth Lang. Moriarity’s margin of victory over Williamson stood at two and a half seconds, and he garnered 177 points for the win.
One of the big stories of Round Nine was Williamson. The Virginias Club racer made 19 starts on the week, winning in eight of those races and pocketing 160 points. In fact, his top three point hauls for the week came from second place finishes to Moriarity, Josh Skroupa and Thomas D Smith. Skroupa made 14 starts on the week, winning all but one of those races. Skroupa’s big win of the week came on Monday when he bested Williamson in a 2821 SoF race by four seconds with Kyle Gottula third, followed by Blanchard and Kenneth Lang. Skroupa started from the pole position in the event and led every lap. Skroupa completed the week at Richmond with 164 points, which placed him third overall out of 808 sim racers.
Speaking of Thomas D Smith, the NASCAR iRacing.com Class C Series standout took home fifth place for the week in the Late Models with 160 points. Smith made five starts and ended-up with the checkered flag in three of those. Smith’s biggest win was during Friday’s 2767 SoF race. Smith started from the pole and led all 45 laps to finish six tenths of a second ahead of Williamson. Conover was third, followed by Heath Smith and Matthew Greathouse.
It was Burris though who took second place overall for the week, along with an important step forward in his bid to become the iLMT titlist in 2011 Season Four. Burris topped the field at Richmond during a 2752 SoF race on Thursday in which the point leader took the win by two seconds over Williamson, Thomas D Smith, Moriarity and Myers. Burris led 41 of the 45 laps from the pole while Moriarity led the other four laps of the event. For the victory, Burris took down 172 valuable championship points.
Bruce Sidwell made 39 starts on the week at Richmond while the most successful driver of the week was Alex Kan, who won 18 races during Round Nine. Skroupa took the pole for the week, posting a lap of 21.948 seconds, the fastest lap amongst 411 drivers. Burris was second, followed by Brodie Kostecki, Williamson and Thomas D Smith. Skroupa also took the top honors in Time Trials for the week over Burris, Myers, Heath Smith and Gary Dangelo, as Burris leads the Time Trials season standings by seven markers over Myers with three weeks remaining.
The race competition point standings see Burris leading Moriarity by 42 points after Week Nine, 1280 to 1238. Myers sits third with 1152 points while Division Two leader Wilsey slips to fourth overall after one drop was factored into his new 1124 point total. Andrew Grigg completes the top five with 1067 points. Rotruck, Ahlum, Sewell and Hays maintained their leads in their respective divisions from Three to Six while Kevin Sockow and Travis Swaim reclaimed the lead in Divisions Seven and Eight respectively. Newberry continues to lead Division Nine with Curtis still pacing Division Ten with three weeks to go to crown champions.
Next up for the popular iRacing short track series is “the Paperclip,” aka Martinsville Speedway. Martinsville always provides great short track racing and with the championship battle heating up, is sure to prove pivotal to the championship chase as well. Check back next week for all the news from Round Ten of the iRacing Late Model Tour in 2011 Season Four!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!