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Stergios outduels Alfalla in Texas
PJ Stergios (ineX Racing Team) became the first multiple-race winner in the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing by passing Slip Angle Motorsports' Ray Alfalla for the lead with 15 laps to go at Texas Motor Speedway . The two were clearly the class of the field, leading a combined 148 of 167 laps, but Stergios got the best of Alfalla on the long run to the checkers. The battle for third came down to the wire with Nicholas Johnston (HPM) holding-off Jake Stergios by less than two-tenths of a second. Logan Clampitt, making his series debut, finished an impressive fifth. Stergios trailed Alfalla by around half a second after the two made their final pit stops under green but quickly closed to the leader's bumper in only a handful of laps. Stergios hounded the former series champion for nearly 20 laps, waiting for a rare mistake. His chance finally materialized when a lapped car on fresher tires passed Alfalla on the outside entering Turn Three. The pass forced Alfalla to compromise his entry, enabling Stergios to draw alongside down the front straightaway. The pair battled side-by-side for a couple of laps before Stergios cleared Alfalla and began pulling away. "The last stint was pretty crazy with guys on all sorts of different strategies, so well done by everyone for keeping it going for so long despite some very close moments," Stergios said. Alfalla took control of the race early on, needing just six laps to assume the lead from his outside pole grid position. However, the race was not without incident for Alfalla. On Lap 82 he brought his car to pit road for routine service and, since he pitted early in the window, found himself in heavy traffic after returning to the track. Not even a lap later, Dylan Duval got loose and slammed the wall off Turn 4, forcing Alfalla to dive to the grass in avoidance. Fortunately for Alfalla the off-road excursion did not damage his car, but a caution for another crash four laps later robbed him of valuable track position. While Alfalla had unlapped himself after his green-flag stop, having fresh tires was so critical he pitted again under the caution and restarted eleventh on Lap 92. Alfalla had little trouble with traffic and by Lap 126 he was already back in the runner-up spot behind Stergios. Knowing passing Stergios on track would prove difficult, Alfalla chose to pit a lap earlier than his rival. While that enabled Alfalla to take the lead, in the end he could not hold it. Stergios' win broke the tie with Alfalla atop the championship standings. Stergios now leads by three points over Alfalla as the two have begun distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Jake Stergios is third, 21 points back of his brother. He is followed closely by Allen Boes, who is only a single point back in fourth after an eighth place effort at Texas. Chris Overland still holds fifth despite finishing 37th in the Lone Star state, but he is now 58 points behind and just two in front of Andrew Fayash III, who is in the running for "biggest surprise" of the sim racing season thus far. Next up on the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series schedule are the tight confines of Richmond International Raceway . The .75-mile short track is the only venue on the schedule less than a mile in length and will force teams to build a much different setup than the last two races. With the 2016 season quickly turning into the PJ Stergios vs. Alfalla show at the front, can any other sim racers challenge their dominance? The uniqueness of Richmond may play into the field's hands but Stergios and Alfalla will be bringing their A-games to the virtual Virginia track -- as usual. Who will find their way to Victory Lane? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive!
Huttu Captures Third iRacing .com World Championship Grand Prix Series Crown
iRacing Awards $30,000+ to World Championship Sim-Racers
Ideas That Changed NASCAR: iRacing
Drivers are using iRacing's detailed and accurate representations of NASCAR tracks to hone their skills in the comfort of their own homes.
Wise gets iRacing sponsorship for Dover
Partnership marks his second high-profile online sponsor of the season
iRacing .com, PEAK ink multi-year commitment
Green flag waves for 2014 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series on February 25
Humpe back on track at Richmond
Defending NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Kenny Humpe ( The TEAM ) found the winner's circle for the first time in 2016, taking the checkered flag at Richmond International Raceway after leading a race-high 88 of 200 laps. Humpe comfortably held-off Allen Boes ( Deadzone ) by 2.8 seconds, while Boes narrowly beat Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) for second. Corey Vincent followed the pair in fourth, 4.4 seconds behind the winner, with Matt Bussa rounding-out the top five. Humpe started from the outside of the front row and took the lead from pole sitter Nick Ottinger on Lap 26, shortly after the second caution flag of the race. He continued to lead until Lap 83 when the field headed to pit road for service under caution. Alfalla and Cody Byus had better pit stops than Humpe, relegating him to third on the restart. After the race went back to green Humpe struggled to close on Alfalla and Byus and, instead, settled into third spot. However, as the run wore on Humpe began gaining on Byus and finally passed him on Lap 138. Alfalla had begun to slow by this point and Humpe made his move for the lead on Lap 145 and nearly had a race-ending moment. As the two raced side-by-side through Turn Three, Humpe suddenly decided to pit for tires but overshot pit entry and narrowly avoided the safety barrels protecting the end of pit wall. Although the mistake cost him time, Humpe kept his car in one piece and safely made it to pit road next time around while Alfalla waited another lap before making his final stop. That extra lap proved costly to Alfalla, as he re-entered the track behind Humpe in spite of the defending champion's botched pit entry a couple laps prior. Although Bussa and Boes were ahead of Humpe and Alfalla, Humpe had no trouble dispatching them. The pass on Bussa only put Humpe in eighth, but the seven cars in front of him had yet to make their final stops and were no match for Humpe on fresh tires. He took the lead for the final time on Lap 168 and never looked back. Unsurprisingly, track position was of the highest importance at Richmond as none of the top five finishers started lower than twelfth and none of the top ten worse than fifteenth. Several sim racers in the running for the championship encountered trouble at Richmond, including both of the Stergios siblings. Jake Stergios ( ineX Racing ) was caught up in a crash and finished thirty-eighth while brother PJ sustained damage of his own but was able to continue and salvage a fourteenth place result. Chris Overland also went laps down early but took wave-arounds to get back into contention, finishing a respectable tenth. PJ Stergios' issues enabled Alfalla to leave Richmond with a nine-point cushion at the top of the standings with Boes an additional ten points back. Jake Stergios slipped to fourth, 54 points back after his troubles. Humpe's victory vaulted him to fifth in a dead heat with Overland but, trailing Alfalla by 62 points, he will need more runs like his Richmond win to get himself back into contention. Week Seven takes the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series to Las Vegas Motor Speedway , the first of four consecutive 1.5 mile tracks on the sim racing schedule. Vegas should play-out similarly to the Week Five race at Texas, so look for the Stergios brothers and Alfalla to be at the front. Can Humpe go back-to-back or will Slip Angle and ineX continue their dominance at the downforce tracks? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive .
Boes Wins Daytona after Wild Green-White-Checker
Allen Boes opened the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series powered by iRacing .com season with a thrilling victory at Daytona International Speedway , beating Brandon Schmidt and PJ Stergios in an abbreviated green-white-checker run to the finish. Boes (Deadzone) found himself out front when the caution flew on Lap 94 of 100 for a crash further back in the field. The yellow allowed the leaders, who were all borderline on fuel, to conserve enough to go the distance and when the green flew on Lap 99 the battle for the win was on. Stergios started on the outside of the front row on the restart and began to make his move down the back straightaway, using a timely push from Schmidt (Last Row Motorsports). As Boes headed to turn three Stergios inched to his outside, but worn tires combined with a hot, slick race track were about to make turn three very interesting. Almost every single car overestimated the grip level and slid up the track. Stergios grazed the wall as he fought to stay alongside Boes then made contact with the race leader. The impact killed Stergios’ momentum, along with his chance at victory. The contact set up Schmidt to make a charge up the inside as the leaders came off turn four to take the white flag. Schmidt drew alongside Boes at the exit of the corner and the two cars came together. The contact sent Schmidt into a slide, just as Casey Tucker spun in front of the back half of the field. The caution flew before the leaders could take the white flag, with Boes just in front of a sliding Schmidt when the caution lights illuminated. Schmidt regained control and held onto second followed by Corey Vincent (Premiere Motorsports Group) and Timmy Hill (Aftermath Motorsports and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver). Stergios faded to fifth after his brush with Boes and the turn three wall. Initially, the race looked as if it would come down to fuel mileage after a caution on Lap 51 which put many drivers into a window to go the distance without stopping again if they could save a couple laps of fuel. A handful of drivers including reigning NPAS champion Kenny Humpe (The TEAM) decided against saving fuel and pitted in hopes the rest of the field would run out before the finish. As the laps clicked down the strategy to pit appeared to have a chance at paying off as the pack of drivers who stayed out were running so slowly in an attempt to save fuel they were in danger of being run down by the cars with plenty of gas in the tank. Unfortunately, the late-race caution did not allow the differing strategies to play out. The drivers that pitted under green and were not involved in the crash had little hope of securing a good finish with just two laps of racing remaining. For the first time in the history of NPAS handling was an issue at Daytona. The drivers fought with ill-handling cars all race and passing proved difficult after the tires heated up. While the racing may not have been as close in years past, the race was more in the hands of the drivers instead of luck. Handling and a looser pack also contributed to less crashes as thirty-six cars finished the race, thirty-four of which were on the lead lap when the checkers flew. The NPAS will go without an off week between the first and second races of the season as Atlanta Motor Speedway is due up next Tuesday. Atlanta is the first 1.5-mile track of six such circuits on the schedule and the race should be a great litmus test for which teams have done their homework over the offseason. Boes will look to continue his recent hot streak on the intermediate tracks, which dates back to the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series, but Humpe and the rest of the NPAS veterans will likely be hard to beat. Who will come out of Atlanta in good position early in the season and who will have already dug themselves a hole? Tune into iRacingLive next Tuesday at 9 pm ET to catch the action!
Pit strategy helps lead PJ Stergios to Phoenix win
PJ Stergios (Last Row Motosports) turned-in the best performance of his NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series career at Phoenix International Raceway to score his first victory in iRacing ’s top oval series. The win came just two weeks after his brother, Jake, took the checkers at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Stergios’ teammate Chris Overland came from 42nd on the grid to finish second, narrowly holding off Slip Angle Motorsports’ Ray Alfalla as the two-time series champion made a charge from 22nd on the grid to finish third. Overland and Alfalla looked to be the only cars capable of running with Stergios speed-wise, but their poor starting positions put them too far behind without the assistance of any caution flags. Kenny Humpe (The TEAM) was fourth despite an inefficient pit strategy while Casey Tucker rounded-out the top five. “Wow, I never expected this one to go green all the way, but I’m really happy to finally be able to pick up a win in this series,” Stergios said. “I thought we would be pretty solid after NASCAR iRacing Series last week, though in this series you have to keep pushing and trying to find every last bit of time since the competition level is so high.” Stergios started on pole and led 120 of 156 laps, only losing the lead when he pitted for tires and fuel. The field quickly strung out leading to clean, caution-free racing for all 156 laps. High tire wear and subsequent lap time fall-off saw drivers prepare a variety of pit strategies. A few drivers near the back of the field were the first to pit, heading in before Lap 40 for tires, fuel, and adjustments. Drivers opting for this strategy knew they would be put a lap down, but hoped their fresh tires would make up some of the time lost. The downside to this strategy? Drivers who headed to the pits this early would need to stop three times. Most of the drivers who had good-handling cars -- including Stergios, Overland, and Alfalla -- chose a two-stop strategy and stayed out until Laps 50-54. Though this group had to go 10-14 laps farther on tires than the three-stop drivers, avoiding a third trip down pit road proved to be the difference. A select few drivers tried a one stop strategy, but this failed miserably for everyone except Humpe, who originally tried for a one-stopper but realized he was giving up far too much time on badly worn tires. Humpe ran the first 77 laps without pitting and led 21 circuits as a result, but decided to divide the remaining distance in half, pitting again on Lap 116. Even with the unorthodox strategy, the defending series champ finished fourth; a standard two-stop strategy may have given him a shot at challenging Stergios for the victory. The victory at PIR also vaulted Stergios into the championship lead. He leads Alfalla by six points with former series leader Allen Boes (Deadzone Racing) another three points back after a quiet 10th-place effort at Phoenix. Jake Stergios is fourth and Overland fifth, 20 points ahead of sixth. In all, four drivers from the LRM/SAM alliance make up the top five after three races. In two weeks, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series will visit Auto Club Speedway , the first two-mile track on the schedule. With an abrasive surface similar to Atlanta, fresh tires will be at a premium and short-pitting could once again come into play on long green flag runs. So far, the LRM/SAM sim racers and cars are proving tough to run with. Only a few months removed from winning the 2015 title, Humpe currently sits 16th in points, 57 markers back of the lead. Will this be the race when Humpe gets his season back on track with a trip to victory lane? Or will Stergios, Alfalla, and Overland continue to pace the field? Tune into iRacingLive in two weeks to find out!
Stergios captures Atlanta victory with late pass
Jake Stergios of Last Row Motorsports played a perfect tire strategy over the last 63 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway en route to his first victory of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing .com. Stergios passed two-time series champion Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) with nine laps remaining and pulled away to win by just over one second. Chris Overland came from 27th on the grid to finish third followed by Josh Berry (High Performance Motorsport & JR Motorsports). PJ Stergios, Jake’s brother, rounded out the top five. With the final 63 laps run caution-free, pit strategy came into play with the high amount of tire falloff. While other drivers opted to short-pit in hopes of picking up track position by being the first cars on new tires, Stergios and Overland decided to split the run in half. This strategy ensured the duo had the freshest tires on the last stint, but forced them to work through traffic. After pitting, Stergios had 31 laps to come from 18th on his fresh tires, but instead of hot-lapping he conserved knowing drivers in front were on older, more worn tires. The plan worked to perfection as Stergios quickly moved up through the field. With 20 laps to go, Stergios had made his way to ninth and was closing quickly on the leaders. Alfalla and Berry were doomed unless a yellow flag flew. Ten laps later, Stergios was on the back bumper of Berry, who gave way without a fight. Alfalla met the same fate one lap later, but had an impressive drive to hold onto second despite Overland having fresher tires. Alfalla looked to have one of the best cars in the field, but his chance of winning was hurt because of an unfortunate break during what appeared to be a routine visit to pit road under green. Alfalla was leading on Lap 81 and headed to pit road when Overland spun Casey Tucker in Turn 4. The spin brought the caution out when Alfalla was already on pit road. He chose to receive service, but was caught a lap down and had to take the wave-around. The circumstances dropped him to 34th, but the rebound to finish second with only half the race left could be a defining moment of Alfalla’s season. Patrick Crabtree also looked to be in the running for the win before a late pit road speeding penalty took him out of contention. Crabtree led 27 laps and had the track position to contend for the win, but came into the pits too hot on his final stop and drew a penalty. He finished 30th. Reigning NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion Kenny Humpe found trouble for the second race in a row to open 2016. Humpe qualified mid-pack and was caught up in a crash during the second half of the race. The damage forced him to retire with a 38th-place result. After two races, the defending champ finds himself 33rd in the standings and has a tough uphill climb ahead if he is to repeat. Daytona winner Allen Boes retained the points lead with an eighth-place result at Atlanta, but his lead is just a single point over Jake Stergios. Alfalla is third, three points back, and PJ Stergios sits fourth, four markers back. Brandon Schmidt is another five points adrift and bookends the top five. Week Three takes the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series drivers to Phoenix International Raceway . Boes, Stergios, and Alfalla are in prime position early in the season and all three will be looking to take control of the championship. Will someone emerge from the pack or can Humpe rekindle his 2015 success? Make sure to catch all the action from PIR in two weeks’ time on iRacingLive!
Justin Marks returns to XFINITY Series at Las Vegas
There is a familiarity about some things, but Justin Marks freely admits that "it's almost as if it was another life because it’s been so long." Marks, 34, returns to the NASCAR XFINITY Series for this weekend's Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , climbing behind the wheel of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. It will be his first start in the series on a 1.5-mile track since 2011. "There's a learning curve and there is a transition at play here," Marks said. "But I've been to every track on the schedule. I've got 60 starts in ARCA, almost 40 in Trucks and a handful, 13 XFINITY , starts. "I've been to Las Vegas, but it was in a truck in 2008. So it's been eight years." Primarily known for his road-course ability, Marks got a refresher course on the ovals last weekend, finishing 22nd in the Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway . This weekend's XFINITY race will be the first of what he says will be roughly one-half a season's worth of starts in a ride he will share with Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson . CGR also fields the No. 48 fulltime in the XFINITY Series for driver Brennan Poole . Last season, Marks drove just three XFINITY races and one Truck race. Between 2012-15, he competed in eight races, total -- two Sprint Cup , five XFINITY and one Truck. "I think when that much time goes by, it's almost in a way like starting over," Marks said. "Maybe it all comes back a little bit quicker than if you were going there for the first time, but I have to approach these like I've never been there before because I've been out of the seat so long. "Last week when I did the truck race at Atlanta, the biggest thing for me to sort of overcome, at least initially, was basically just to feel the load in the corners, the G-forces and the load on the tires. That's a sensation that you just cannot replicate in any environment other than being in the race car. I can go into fancy simulators and I can go on iRacing and watch all the onboard footage. I can find every bump and know exactly where the line is, what will happen with the car (during the course) of a tire run. But the one thing you just can’t replicate is the seat-of-the-pants feel of feeling that load. "The first couple of laps at Atlanta, it almost startled me. I had forgotten … just how much force you are putting through the tires and into the racetrack. That's kind of where the learning curve is (for me), just feeling that again, 'OK, this is what it feels like.' " Marks has two career Sprint Cup Series starts, both coming at Sonoma Raceway, with Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2013 and last season with Front Row Motorsports . He has a pair of top-10 results in the XFINITY Series, finishing sixth at Mid-Ohio ('14) and seventh at Road America ('15). Why the sudden move to an increased on-track schedule? In addition to the occasional road course efforts, Marks has numerous business endeavors outside the race car that have required his attention. With others in place to now help oversee those interests, the time was right to re-commit to his racing efforts. "It's been in play for me for a couple of years to come back on the ovals in some sort of significant way," he said. "I'm not getting any younger. "I had a race opportunity with a big sponsor, good funding with a good team in 2008 when I was in the Trucks with Germain Racing . Hindsight being what it is, I probably didn't take full advantage of that situation. I didn't do the study, I didn't put the time in, I wasn't as focused as I needed to be. I've had eight years to reflect on that missed opportunity. I have a much better perspective going into this." The right situation to return required an opening as well as the proper funding. Until this season, the two failed to materialize simultaneously. Meanwhile, younger drivers continued to flow into the sport, and positions were filled. "If I was ever going to come back, it had to be in the right situation," Marks said. "With the right team, sitting in (equipment) that's capable of winning every time it hits the race track. "I've got some great relationships within Chip Ganassi Racing and its partners. That's kind of where I wanted to be, but for whatever reason there just wasn't an opportunity. Last year they had one car, the year before it was in the Turner-Scott Motorsports stable and I didn't have partner backing to do a significant program." For his '16 effort, Marks will have funding from Katerra, a high tech construction group. "A great partner … willing to step up to the plate," Marks said. "I feel like I'm ready," he said. "I'm at point where I can focus and dedicate myself." The Boyd Gaming 300 is scheduled for Saturday, March 5 at LVMS (4 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN).