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Green flag waves for 2014 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series on February 25
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Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) punctuated yet another stellar season in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing by earning his fourth victory of the 2015 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Alfalla, who started a lap down because of technical trouble, sliced through the field in the early going and drove every bit like a driver with nothing to lose. Last Row Motorsports ' Jake Stergios finished second, followed by brother PJ. The Stergios brothers had the cars to beat on the short run, but could not match Alfalla's speed as the laps added-up on their virtual Goodyears. Bryan Blackford was fourth, just edging Chris Overland and mirroring their places in the final standings. Alfalla and Jake Stergios dominated for most of the evening, leading a combined 146 of 167 laps. Stergios was one of the first sim racers to experiment with the high line in Turns One and Two and the change in line brought his car to life. Polesitter Cody Byus ( The TEAM ) had no answer and was passed by Stergios just nine laps in. As halfway approached, Jake still led but PJ had cut the margin and began to plan his move. On Lap 83 PJ drove to the bottom in Turn Three and cleared his brother off of Turn 4. A lap later, a caution stopped the battle and sent the leaders to the pits for tires and fuel. PJ won the race off pit road but his time at the front was short-lived as Jake used the outside lane in Turns Three and Four to regain the lead. However, Alfalla was now within striking distance and began picking his way through the top five. On Lap 112, Alfalla took the lead for the first time and started to pull away, but a caution for Brad Davies ( Drill Aisle ) erased Alfalla's lead and brought the leaders to pit road for the final time. Alfalla won the race off pit road and looked set to drive away to victory, but Jake was strong and stayed right in Alfalla's tire tracks. Stergios gave it a valiant effort, even getting alongside Alfalla at one point, but did not have the speed on the bottom to clear the race leader. He finally burned off his tires and had to settle for second, just over one second behind at the checkers. Kenny Humpe, the 2015 series champion, did not have the result he was hoping for. Although he qualified fourth, Humpe lacked speed in race trim to compete for the win. Still, a strong finish looked possible until his chance to record a twelfth top five of the season ended when he got loose off Turn Two on Lap 44 and pounded the inside wall. Humpe wound up forty-second, dead-last. As Alfalla and Jake Stergios battled for the lead over the last 40 laps, PJ Stergios, Blackford, and Overland were locked in an intense battle for third on track, and third through fifth in the championship. PJ came away with third on both counts, a rather comfortable 19 points ahead of fourth place Blackford. Overland and Blackford fought side-by-side multiple times during the last fuel run, each needing to finish in front of the other to claim the $1,000 fourth place prize. Blackford's long run speed was too much for Overland, who settled for fifth in the championship, a single point behind Blackford, and collected $500 for his efforts. Further back in the standings, Nathan Wise was the last driver to secure his 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series license by finishing twentieth in the standings. He beat Michael J Johnson ( Gale Force Racing ) by seven points despite limping a damaged car home to a thirty-seventh place finish at Homestead. As the sixth NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series comes to a close, the story of the year has to be Humpe's complete dominance through the first three quarters of the season. Though he faded a bit at the end, Humpe's consistency was nothing like this series has ever seen. As he looks to become just the second repeat champion, Alfalla -- already a two timer himself -- looks to be his biggest competition. Nobody was stronger the last few races than Alfalla and he will carry that momentum into the off-season and, he hopes, to the start of 2016. The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series is off until February, giving drivers and teams some much-needed time off. What does next season have in store? With the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series bringing-in new talent, drivers undoubtedly changing teams, and iRacing build changes, it is always possible that different and unexpected drivers will challenge for wins. However, Humpe and Alfalla will be on their games, and likely ready for any new challengers.
Landon Harrison pulled-off one of the most improbable wins in the history of the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing at Darlington Raceway last night by beating Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) and Last Row Motorsports ' Chris Overland in a 32 lap sprint to the finish. Harrison started thirty-second and ran mid-pack until a timely caution flew during a round of green flag pit stops with 42 laps remaining, giving him his best track position of the night. After another quick caution and a few laps of following Overland and Alfalla after the final restart, Harrison made his move with 30 laps to go. Amazingly, he was able to pass both Alfalla and Overland in Turn Three before pulling away from the tandem who were left fighting for second. That battle was won by Alfalla who took advantage of Overland's slightly older tires to grab second, just over a second behind Harrison. Overland took third followed by the Stergios brothers with PJ in fourth and Jake coming home fifth. In all, three out of the top five finishers started twenty-seventh or worse, an impressive statistic for a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult. The race also saw the debut of iRacing's dynamic track surface model which shook-up the field and made track position less important than normal. In addition, the tires gave up more than three seconds over a full fuel run and rewarded smooth and consistent driving over pure hot-lapping. This played right into the hands of a driver like Harrison who normally is not the fastest on the time sheet but knows how to keep his car clean and be around at the finish. The conditions led to comers and goers along with tight sim racing throughout the pack as drivers slid around searching for grip. Despite the struggles experienced by many drivers, only four cautions slowed the pace for 16 laps. The long green flag runs created varying pit strategies with many drivers opting to short-pit for fresh tires in hopes of gaining track position while others chose to stretch their tires and fuel in hopes of catching a caution. The TEAM 's Kenny Humpe grabbed his fifth pole of the season and looked to clinch the 2015 series championship with a finish of thirteenth or better. Humpe started off strong and led 44 laps early but he was undone by damage to his PEAK Chevrolet, first by hitting the wall on his own and then later when he ran into Alex Warren when Warren was heading to pit road. As a result, Humpe finished twentieth, his worst result of the season, and failed to secure the championship. Nick Ottinger also encountered tough sledding at Darlington after being a dominating force in recent weeks. Ottinger qualified second and looked to have above average speed at the beginning of the race, especially on the short run. However, as the track took rubber and the runs went on and on, Ottinger faded outside of the top ten, winding up thirteenth at the finish. While Humpe failed to mathematically clinch the championship, he moved closer and now only needs to score six points over the final two races to take his first NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series title. Alfalla still is second, 90 points behind while PJ Stergios is another 43 back of Alfalla in third. Though the top three positions are comfortably held, the fight for fourth is a different story. Overland currently holds the spot but only by a single point over Bryan Blackford. Matt Bussa is lurking five points adrift of Blackford followed by Corey Vincent who is 11 points out of fifth. Just two races remain in the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze season, both 1.5 mile tracks. Chicagoland Speedway is the first of the two and drivers will have to get to work quickly as there are just seven days until the next race rather than the customary two weeks. This shorter time frame will likely favor teams that test quickly and efficiently, and it will be interesting to see which sim racers can best adapt to changing track conditions. Will this be the race Humpe wraps up the championship, or can Alfalla somehow stay alive for the finale? Find out next Tuesday on iRacingLive !
One week after coming up a single position short at Darlington, Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) turned-in a dominating performance at Chicagoland Speedway to score his third victory of the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series powered by iRacing . Alfalla started fourth and quickly showed his would be the car to beat, pacing the field for a race-high 117 of 167 laps. Aero Precision 's Taylor Hurst finished second, 3.79s behind the winner. Bryan Blackford was third, followed by Michael Conti ( Drill Aisle ), who battled from thirty-third on the grid, and Chris Overland ( Last Row Motorsports ). The biggest winner of all, however, finished a lowly 29th. That would be Kenny Humpe ( The TEAM ) who came into the race with a virtually insurmountable lead in the points and went on to clinch the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series championship and the $10,000 grand prize. Humpe's race started strong with a third place run in qualifying and, while it was clear he did not have the speed to run with Alfalla, a top five seemed realistic. That all changed on Lap 101 when Humpe got loose and hit the wall off Turn Two, triggering a crash that also involved Allen Boes and Justin Bolton. Despite his damage, Humpe soldered on to the finish and wrapped-up the championship a week early. Alfalla did all he could do to extend the championship battle to the final race of the season. He led for much of the evening and found himself out front when the fifth and final yellow flag flew with 44 laps remaining. With tires at a premium, all lead lap cars headed to the pits for fresh rubber, final adjustments and fuel to the finish. Alfalla won the race off pit road but came under attack from Hurst and Tyler Hudson ( One Up Motorsports ) shortly after the restart. Four laps later, Hudson took advantage of a minor mistake by Alfalla and grabbed the lead with Hurst in tow. Alfalla, knowing he had the best long-run car, was content to bide his time in third. Sure enough, it only took nine laps for Alfalla to catch and re-pass Hurst to move back into second. Hudson too began to struggle and he met the same fate as Hurst three laps later. Once back in clean air, Alfalla checked-out on the rest of the field, never being challenged the rest of the way. The race started with a long green flag run and as the track took rubber and tires wore, some sim racers and cars reacted more positively than others did. Conti flew through the back half of the field after missing qualifying while Corey Vincent ( Premere Motorsports Group ) and Nick Ottinger ( Gale Force Racing ) both struggled with ill-handling cars and fell back. Vincent recovered for a ninth place result but Ottinger's luck ran out when he met the Turn Four wall, ending his night in 39th position. While Humpe took the title, Alfalla locked-up second place in the points, extending a remarkable five-year streak of finishing either first or second in the championship. However, the fight for third is far from over with PJ Stergios currently occupying the final podium spot with Blackford (-17 points) and Overland (-18 points) in pursuit. Just one race remains in the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, the traditional season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . With Humpe and Alfalla both locked into their championship positions, it would be no surprise to see both drivers go all-out for one more win to cap off the season. In addition, the battle for third is tight enough that it would not be surprising to see either Blackford or Overland try to play strategy to overtake Stergios. Who will end the season on a high note and who will be left staring at a long off-season? To find the results to all these stories and more be sure to catch the series finale in two weeks' time on iRacingLive !
Ray Alfalla from Slipangle Motorsports held off a late charge from Gale Force Racing 's Nick Ottinger at Phoenix International Raceway en route to his second victory in the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing . Ottinger had to settle for second, less than one tenth of a second behind and a single position short in his quest for a third straight win. Polesitter Casey Tucker ( Last Row Motorsports ) finished third, followed by series championship leader Kenny Humpe ( The TEAM ) and PJ Stergios. Alfalla, who led a race-high 86 of 156 laps, took advantage of some timely cautions and a solid pit strategy and found the winner's circle for the first time since the season opener at Daytona. Ottinger appeared to have a slightly better car than anyone else on the long run but a decision to short-pit cost him when a caution flew for a wreck before the rest of the front runners made their stops. The untimely yellow trapped Ottinger back in traffic with just 45 laps to go which, later, lead him to remark that his second place finish "felt like a win." The night got underway with Humpe taking the lead on Lap Three and quickly opening a one second margin over the field. Humpe held the lead until the first yellow flew on Lap 29 and the field pitted for fresh tires and fuel. Humpe's crew was sluggish, losing him three positions in the pits and handing the lead back to Tucker. On the restart Ottinger jumped to the lead but, after a flurry of cautions, Alfalla went to the point as he raced hard for the clean air out front. After a few laps it was Ottinger who prevailed and the race settled into the longest green flag run of the night. With nobody able to make it on fuel to the end, Ottinger decided to play some pit strategy and short-pitted as soon as his fuel window opened. The move was risky as it put him a lap down but if the pit stop cycle completed he would own a massive lead thanks to his fresh tires. Unfortunately for Ottinger, a crash on the frontstretch on Lap 104 trapped him a lap down as Alfalla and a handful of other cars had yet to make their stops. Ottinger would get back on the lead lap by taking the wave around but now had older tires than Alfalla and the rest of the frontrunners. Ottinger received some help by way of another caution just 11 laps after taking the wave around which allowed him to pit for tires. When the race restarted with 31 laps remaining Ottinger was in fifteenth but now had fresher tires than the leaders and began charging back to the front. In just seven laps Ottinger was already up to eighth and yet another caution bunched the field up, playing right into his favor. As so often happens at short tracks, cautions breed cautions and the frequent yellows at the end of the race enabled Ottinger to maximize the benefit of his fresh tires. After going from fifteenth to eighth, he picked up two more spots on the next restart and three additional places on the next before the ninth and final yellow flag of the night flew, setting-up a five lap shootout for the win. Alfalla still led, Tucker was second, and Ottinger was behind the front row in third as the race went green. Ottinger made quick work of Tucker and started reeling-in Alfalla. By the time the white flag flew Alfalla had a mirror full of the 05 car but would not be denied as he calmly negotiated Turns Three and Four a final time to take the checkered flag with Ottinger right on his bumper. The win allowed Alfalla to slightly close on Humpe in the championship standings but Humpe still enjoys a massive 109-point advantage. Alfalla also distanced himself from Stergios, who is now 39 points adrift in third. Bryan Blackford and Matt Bussa are tied for fifth, 23 points behind Stergios and three points in front of Chris Overland who fell in the standings due to last night's disappointing 30th place finish. With just three races remaining in the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series the series shifts to Darlington Raceway , one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. Humpe will have a chance to officially clinch the championship if he can leave "The Lady in Black" with a 97 point lead, leaving Alfalla with some work to do if he hopes to keep the pressure on an additional week. Darlington generally favors the veteran sim racers so it would be no surprise to see Alfalla, Ottinger, and Humpe battling for the win once again. Can anyone else break up the dominant threesome? Tune into iRacingLive in two weeks' time to find out!
Conti holds off a charging field in the closing laps After a short hiatus and a new tire on the cars, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing returned to action at Pocono Raceway Tuesday night with everyone looking to gain an edge heading into the stretch run of the season. When all was said and done, Michael Conti emerged with the victory, his first of the 2014 NPAS season. Brad Davies finished second and Ray Alfalla was third. Chad Laughton hung around the top five all race and scored a fourth place finish while Chris Overland rounded out the top five. Conti had the car to beat from the drop of the green flag, but his victory was not without controversy. With nine laps remaining, Conti was attempting to pass teammate Brian Schoenburg, who had just taken the lead on a restart two laps prior, going into Turn One. The two ended up going for the same piece of race track and made contact which sent Schoenburg spinning up into the outside wall, ending his chances at grabbing that elusive first career NPAS win. Conti avoided damage in the brush-up and took full blame for the incident. "I know how it feels to be wrecked out of the lead with less than 20 laps to go. It is painful, demoralizing, and ridiculously aggravating beyond words," said Conti. "I cannot stand that I took away this win from Brian and I hope that he can win in two weeks at Charlotte." Davies appeared to have a shot at Conti on the last restart, as he was one of just a few cars that could somewhat keep up, but a wreck before the field made it to the start/finish line caused the race to end under caution. Conti also dodged a bullet when the caution flew during a round of green flag stops. His strategy of pitting as soon as his fuel window opened up paid off because one lap later the caution flew and allowed him to pass all the cars still needing to pit and reclaim the lead. The new tire appeared to throw off several normally strong teams as most of the field struggled for grip which lead to nine cautions slowing the pace for 35 laps. Turn Three appeared to be the biggest trouble spot as several drivers battled extremely loose cars off the corner throughout the evening. However, loose cars did not create all the crashes. The field could not make it through Turn One on the first lap before the yellow waved when Joey Brown was a bit overanxious and turned Trey Eidson around on corner entry. On the ensuing restart it was Brown's turn for a spin when Richard Dusett clipped him going into Turn Two. After the early fireworks, Conti began to show just how good his car was as the race settled into some longer green flag runs. Other than the late-race restart when Schoenburg caught him sleeping, Conti was never challenged on the track. In fact, if it were not for some slow pit stops Conti would have led even more than his already impressive total of 81 of 100 laps. The large amount of wrecks also tightened up the points even more as frontrunners Kenny Humpe and Brandon Kettelle both found trouble at Pocono. Humpe was battling Danny Hansen for third when he slid up into Hansen exiting Turn Two. The two drivers lost control and pounded the inside wall, causing both of their races to end in disappointing fashion. With the series nearing the one-third mark, seven drivers sit within ten points of the championship lead. Laughton now leads the standings after five races. He holds a two point lead over Alfalla. Jake Stergios is third, five points back followed by Humpe who is another two points behind. Nick Ottinger holds fifth after a solid race, but is just one point ahead of Bryan Blackford with Conti another point adrift in seventh. After rising through the standings with his victory, Conti will look to keep his momentum going at the next stop on the NPAS schedule, Charlotte Motor Speedway. Conti and team clearly had a large setup advantage at Pocono and it will be interesting to see if this success transfers over to the 1.5 mile tracks. Despite this, Alfalla, Humpe, and the others will be working diligently on setups to catch Conti. Also, defending champion Tyler Hudson should not be counted out as he will return from his one week suspension. Can Conti score back-to-back victories, or will someone spoil the party? Find out in two weeks' time when the NPAS heads under the lights at Charlotte! Tune in two weeks from now when the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing .com returns for some Charlotte action on iRacing Live on Tuesday, May 20 at 9 PM EDT (01:00 GMT).
Laughton had what it took to get to the front ? and stay there ? at Michigan. With the way Chad Laughton 's 2014 season has been going, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before he would find victory lane. The time finally came last night. Laughton won his first race in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing at Michigan International Speedway after passing series points leader Michael Conti during the final round of stops with 30 laps to go. Conti finished second after a late-race try for the lead followed by Nick Ottinger and Mitchell Hunt with Justin Bolton recording a strong fifth place finish. After the final round of stops was completed, Conti appeared to hold back and ride in line behind Laughton, biding his time. The two were joined by Ottinger, Hunt and Kenny Humpe in a five car lead draft. By the end the draft was cut to three cars as both Humpe and Hunt experienced "self-inflicted" difficulties with their cars. With 13 laps to go, Humpe got loose off of Turn 4 and hit the wall. The damage took its toll on Humpe's handling and he started to slide back. Two laps later Hunt too was bitten by Turn 4 and had to lift, dropping him too far behind the front three to make a charge. After riding around behind Laughton for nearly 30 laps, Conti made his move down the backstretch with two laps to go. He got a strong run off Turn 2 and began to draft up on Laughton as they approached Turn 4. Conti dove to the bottom, but Laughton made a bold move and shut the door on him. Conti, unwilling to use the very bottom of the track, fell back in line behind the race leader but did not have another shot at the win. Instead, his focus shifted to defending second from Ottinger, which he managed to do. Despite falling short on picking up another victory, Conti remained positive. "Coulda, shoulda, woulda, all that matters is that we are still leading the points, finished second in a great field of cars, and have a lot of momentum heading into the second half of the year," he said. Ottinger was also pleased to come home third, knowing how important consistency is in the quest for the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze championship. "Smart racing up front and thoroughly enjoyed it," he said. "Tried waiting for the 5 to make his move and it just was not happening." The race was briskly run and competitive with 13 lead changes among six drivers. Only two cautions slowed the pace, both of which occurred before Lap 25. Unfortunately for some drivers, they could not make it a lap before chaos broke out entering Turn Three. Brian Day did not realize he was three wide and came up slightly into Thomas Lewandowski , setting off a melee that collected several strong cars including those of Ray Alfalla and Brian Schoenburg . With all of the top five in the series point standings having good runs, there was not much movement at the top of the leaderboard. Conti still leads with a nine point gap back to Ottinger. Laughton inched closer with his win and now is 18 points out of the lead. Jake Stergios is fourth after a mediocre eighteenth place showing at MIS and Alfalla is fifth after rallying for a tenth place finish following his early trouble. With half the 2014 season in the rear-view mirror, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series heads to Kentucky Speedway to kick-off the second half under the lights. Kentucky is known for being one of the most challenging 1.5 mile tracks on the schedule thanks to its narrow groove and numerous bumps. A setup that is not only fast but can handle the bumps without losing grip is key to a strong result. There is plenty of sim racing remaining in this season, but the trio of Conti, Ottinger and Laughton have looked nearly unbeatable in recent weeks. If anyone can unseat them it might be Alfalla, who is still without a win in 2014 but who has looked much better in recent weeks. Can Alfalla or someone else steal the show, or will a familiar face taste victory once again? Find out in two weeks' time on iRacing Live! "Coulda, shoulda, woulda . . ." ? Michael Conti