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NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing season begins Feb. 28
The world's top online racers will take the green flag when the seventh NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing .com gets underway Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET. Driving race simulators from the comfort of their homes, a full field of elite iRacers will wheel their virtual Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusions and Toyota Camrys around a laser-scanned model of the Daytona International Speedway in the first of 16 events in NASCAR's official eSport series. At stake is $25,000 in cash and prizes together with a NASCAR champions ring and trophy to be awarded during the NASCAR Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Following the Daytona race, competitors will race at digitized versions of many of the tracks on the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on alternate Tuesdays, with flag-to-flag coverage broadcast on iRacing Live. The series champion will be determined by a playoff system based on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, with the top four finalists battling in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series finale on the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway this fall. By any measure, defending champion Ray Alfalla figures to be the man to beat. A USPS mail carrier from Cape Coral, Florida, Alfalla edged New Hampshire-based PJ Stergios for the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series championship last season, and captured his third title in six years. While he has never finished lower than second in the season standings, Alfalla faces new challenges this season ranging from the new Chase format to new aerodynamic rules similar to those Jimmie Johnson , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch and friends will be dealing with in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . "One of the keys this year is adapting to the reduction in downforce for 2017, just like in the real world," Alfalla said. "We'll also have a playoff for the first time, so the dynamic of each race will change, and the final race at Homestead will be nuts. Last year it was me and PJ neck-and-neck for the championship; this year there will be twice as many of us going for the title. I'm pretty excited about it!" In addition to veterans like Stergios and former champions Kenny Humpe and Michael Conti, Alfalla will have to deal with a promising crop of newcomers that includes Darik Bourdeau, of Montreal, Canada. While anything short of another title for the series veterans will rank as something of a disappointment, Bourdeau has a different outlook. "My goal is to get some solid runs and finish races in the top 10 and five," he said. "If you can stay out of trouble and pull out some solid finishes you will more than likely make The Chase. Then, it's 'win and you're in' the finale, when anything can happen." Last year's schedule produced nine winners in 16 races, while more two dozen sim racers scored at least one top-five finish. It's the kind of "anything can happen" competition that prompted PEAK Antifreeze to renew its title sponsorship of the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series through the 2019 season. "The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series consistently produces some of the most exciting racing action you'll find, whether you're talking real or virtual racing," said PEAK CMO Bryan Emrich. "The great racing and the overall professionalism of the series are a perfect fit for PEAK. That's why we're excited to be associated with this series." The 2017 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series gets underway Tuesday, Feb. 28. Catch all the excitement on iRacingLive starting at 9 p.m. ET.
iRacing's championship: Alfalla wins third crown
RELATED: Full iRacing schedule, results Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) captured his third NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series championship, capping a remarkable season with a second-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . PJ Stergios (ineX Racing), Alfalla’s competition for the championship, won the race in a clutch performance but fell two points short of winning his first championship. The difference in the championship came down to laps led, with Alfalla's 50 giving him the bonus point for leading the most laps while Stergios could manage only 34 circuits at the front of the field. If Stergios had led 17 more laps, he would have taken the championship on a tiebreaker. The night started off with Alfalla starting on pole while Stergios rolled off 13th. Pole position gave Alfalla an immediate advantage in that he would have a very good chance at leading a lap early on and picking up an all-important bonus point. When the race went green, Alfalla did exactly that by jumping out to an early lead over Michael Conti and Justin Bolton. As the first run wore on, Alfalla's lead stabilized at around 1.5 seconds over Brad Davies, who overhauled Conti for second on Lap 28. Further back, Stergios had moved into the top five. A few laps later sim racers started heading into the pits for tires, but the two championship contenders stayed on the track not wanting to get trapped a lap down in case a caution flew. On Lap 41 the two pitted together with Alfalla winning the battle off pit road. However, due to running several additional laps Alfalla lost the lead to Conti with Nick Ottinger (Gale Force Sim Racing) in second. The first caution flag flew on Lap 58 when Ottinger was battling Davies and Kenny Humpe (The TEAM) for second. Davies got loose under Ottinger coming off Turn 2, hit Ottinger, and spun down into Humpe. Humpe got the worst of it, smashing into the inside wall and ending his night. Ottinger continued without damage and won the race off pit road during the yellow, earning the race lead. Alfalla did not wait long to reclaim the lead, doing so on a Lap 75 restart just before a massive crash happened behind him when Kevin King was hooked in front of the field. Nearly a dozen cars piled into the melee on the backstretch, but both Alfalla and Stergios were unscathed. After trailing Alfalla for much of the race, Stergios made his move on the next round of green flag pit stops. Stergios pitted before Alfalla and jumped in front thanks to his fresher tires. When the field cycled through pit stops, Stergios held the lead with Conti leading Alfalla for second. Stergios looked to be in prime position to threaten Alfalla's laps-led mark but another caution flew for a crash on the front stretch and bunched the field up again. Stergios hung on, though, winning the race off pit road and maintaining the lead on the restart only for the yellow light to flash again, forcing him and Alfalla to pit road again for another set of fresh tires. With 17 laps to go, the race resumed, this time with Taylor Hurst in the lead courtesy of a two-tire pit stop. Stergios and Alfalla both looked to pounce on the restart with the fresh tires and the next 10 laps featured phenomenal sim racing among Hurst, Alfalla, Stergios and Ottinger. Stergios finally took the lead from Hurst with nine laps to go, but was unable to secure the bonus point for most laps led. Alfalla also came through for second with Ottinger finishing third ahead of Cody Byus as Hurst slipped to fifth at the checkers. Alfalla's third championship brings to six the number of consecutive top-two finishes in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series standings, dating back to 2011. Stergios, to his credit, had the second-best year ever in series history. Both drivers had an average finish of fourth to go along with 13 top-10s in 16 races, but Alfalla was more consistent and had a better average starting position (sixth versus 12th). Jake Stergios won the battle for third in the standings, though he was well back of the top two. Chris Overland took fourth despite finishing 27th at Homestead as Dylan Duval also found trouble, finishing 31st, but taking fifth in the standings over Ottinger. With another season in the books, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series enters into hibernation until March 2017. Alfalla will once again bask in the glow of being crowned the best oval sim racer in the world at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the Ford Championship Weekend (where he will collect a check for $10,000 prize and third NASCAR championship ring), while the rest of the field has to wonder what they can do to knock him off his perch. His success is truly unprecedented in a field that is loaded with talent and gets more competitive each year. Congratulations to Ray Alfalla, 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion!
Corey Vincent nabs first iRacing victory of the season at Las Vegas
Corey Vincent (Overclock Motorsports) broke through for his first victory of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , narrowly holding-off Slip Angle Motorsports’ Ray Alfalla and Tyler Hudson (One Up Motorsports) on a 33-lap run to the checkered flag. Alfalla started on the pole and ran up front throughout the race but did not have the long-run speed to get the best of Vincent. Hudson, meanwhile, took the lead late but could not hold on over the long run to the finish; he finished third after leading with fewer than 10 laps remaining. It was Hudson's first top-five finish of the season. The TEAM's Kenny Humpe followed his win at Richmond with a fourth-place result after starting 41st, and Cody Byus rounded out the top five. Alfalla led early from the pole but lost the top spot when Vincent pitted one lap earlier for tires. The two were content to run nose-to-tail during the second tire run as they pulled away from the field. During the next round of stops, Alfalla pitted first, and his extra lap on fresher tires propelled him back to the front by nearly two seconds. Vincent was unfazed by the deficit, however, and slowly began chipping into Alfalla’s lead. It took nearly 20 laps, but Vincent finally wrested the top spot from Alfalla and began to pull away once again. But another pit stop was looming. Further back, Mitchell Hunt (High Performance Motorsports) was holding third but had dropped more than a full straightaway behind Vincent and Alfalla, making it a two-car race for the win barring a yellow. The caution held off for a third round of green-flag stops and once again, it was Alfalla who hit pit road first; but this time, his one-lap advantage on tires did not gain him the lead. Vincent took complete command of the race after the third stop, gapping Alfalla by 2.5 seconds. That lead would evaporate when the yellow flew for the first and only time of the race on Lap 131. The caution drew the leaders to pit road for their last set of fresh tires and adjustments with Vincent winning the race off pit road followed by Alfalla and Hudson. With 33 laps to go, the race went green and the three quickly jumped out ahead of the field. Hudson used the inside to his advantage and moved ahead of Alfalla, then set his sights on Vincent for the lead. Two laps after the restart, Hudson made his move, drawing alongside Vincent after getting a great run off Turn 4. Hudson cleared Vincent in Turn 1 but Vincent attempted a crossover move off Turn Two, pulling back alongside Hudson down the backstretch. The two raced side-by-side through Turns 3 and 4 with Hudson getting the best of it to take the lead with 30 laps to go. For the next 20 laps, Vincent hounded Hudson but could not find a way around until Hudson got tight off Turn Two with just nine laps remaining. Vincent capitalized on the mistake, surging to the race lead and bringing Alfalla to second while Hudson fell to third. The three simracers would ride in their respective positions to the finish with old tires making passing all but impossible barring a mistake. Alfalla's runner-up finish helped grow his series points lead, which now sits at 14 markers over seventh-place finisher PJ Stergios (ineX Racing). Allen Boes (Deadzone) lost ground after dropping out of the race, and now finds himself 60 points back of the lead in third, tied with Jake Stergios. Humpe bookends the top five, a remarkable rebound considering the poor start to the season he endured. With Vegas in the rearview mirror, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series moves to another 1.5-mile track – Charlotte Motor Speedway – for the longest race of the season. Charlotte may be the same size as Vegas, but the tracks could not be more difference surface-wise. Smooth and very fast, CMS requires a much different setup than the rough corners at LVMS. In addition, the high corner speeds at Charlotte tend to make passing difficult, making a good qualifying effort all the more important. Who is up to the challenge of 300 miles? Find out in two weeks by catching all the simracing action on iRacing Live!
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Defending iRacing champ Humpe claims Kentucky triumph
Kenny Humpe ( The TEAM ) kept his hot streak going at Kentucky Speedway by winning his third NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series race of the 2016 season. The defending series champion led 50 of 167 laps, the most of any driver, in what turned out to be one of the most competitive events of the season thus far. Humpe closed the deal on a three-lap shootout that was punctuated by a caution on the penultimate lap with Humpe well in the clear. Michael Conti ( Team Conti ) finished second for his first top-five finish of the season. Conti was strong from the drop of the green and led 10 laps, flashing some of the speed that made him NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion in 2014. Dylan Duval followed Conti across the line in third, just in front of point leaders Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) and PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing ). Duval looked to have a car capable of winning the race the last 50 laps, but cautions held him back from challenging for the win; he started 34th. Alfalla looked poised to battle Humpe for the win but contact with Conti under caution with a handful of laps to go damaged the rear of Alfalla's car and dashed any chance he had of keeping up with Humpe on the last restart. The race was one of the more unpredictable of the season, as several drivers looked like they had a legitimate shot to win. Alfalla started on pole and led until pitting under green on Lap 35, where he lost the lead to Conti after the cycle of stops due to Conti pitting a lap earlier for tires. Alfalla methodically reeled him in, using his superior speed on the long run to take the lead back on Lap 55. Alfalla pitted for the second time on Lap 68 and again lost the lead on the exchange -- this time to Justin Bolton and Humpe, along with Conti for a second time. Humpe went to the point on Lap 81 with Alfalla looking to keep pace, but Conti held Alfalla at bay, using the outside lane to keep his momentum off the corners. Alfalla was persistent though, and after four laps of working the bottom lane he cleared Conti, but could not run down Humpe before the leaders hit pit road for a third time. Humpe maintained his lead after stops but a caution shortly after the round of stops changed the outlook of the race. While most of the leaders pitted for fresh tires, nine drivers decided to stay out with their slightly worn tires in hopes that track position would make a difference. Tyler Hudson ( One Up Motorsports ) inherited the race lead as the field took the green flag on Lap 109. Hudson held the lead for the next eight laps before another caution bunched the field and drew everyone to pit road for fresh rubber. Humpe went from 12th to seventh on the run, but now did not have a tire advantage. After a crash on the restart, the race restarted on Lap 126 and Humpe started to make his move back to the front. In 10 laps, Humpe was in third and had his sights set on Hudson in the lead. On Lap 140, Humpe drew alongside Hudson and completed the pass on the outside off Turn 4. Another caution with 17 laps to go could have derailed Humpe's chances, but a solid final pit stop and two stellar restarts let him hold the lead uncontested to the checkered flag. Alfalla's fourth-place result combined with Stergios' fifth-place effort saw Alfalla build his championship lead slightly. His margin over Stergios is 13 points, with Humpe a distant third, 78 points back. Teammates Jake Stergios and Chris Overland hold fourth and fifth, 91 and 96 points adrift, respectively. After four-straight races on 1.5 mile tracks, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series shifts gears for Week 11 as the SIM racing series visits the Indianapolis Motor Speedway . Overtaking at the one-groove IMS is notoriously difficult; thus, qualifying is more important than usual. Alfalla's average start of seventh makes him the clear favorite, but a dark horse could be Cody Byus, whose eighth-place average starting position is second-best in the series. Can Humpe or Stergios topple Alfalla, or will the two-time champ cross the yard of bricks for his second victory of 2016? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive !
Zalenski survives Phoenix melee for first NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series win
RELATED: See the complete iRacing schedule Rookie NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series driver Bobby Zalenski scored his first victory at Phoenix International Raceway Tuesday night, holding off Ray Alfalla and Ryan Luza on two late-race restarts. Zalenski took the lead on a restart with ten laps to go when leader Andrew Fayash missed a shift. Logan Clampitt, who was restarting second, also moved alongside Fayash as the three raced door-to-door into Turn 1. Zalenski had such a sharp angle into the corner he could not keep his car on the bottom which led him to hit Clampitt, spinning the erstwhile series leader out of contention. Zalenski escaped with minimal damage and had the race lead, but he would need to execute on one more restart with the two strongest drivers in 2017 thus far right behind him. The green flew with five laps left but before Alfalla and Luza could challenge for the win, Michael Conti spun Fayash entering Turn One leading to a race-ending caution. Alfalla finished runner-up, right in front of Luza as both rebounded from their problems at Texas. Dylan Duval finished fourth and Zack Novak was fifth, the first time either driver has finished in the top five this season. Matt Bussa started on pole and led the race to the green flag, building a comfortable lead on Luza during the opening laps. Bussa led the entirety of the first run, only relinquishing the lead to pit for tires and fuel on Lap 53. However, Bussa would not return to the front after the stops as several sim racers short-pitted including Michael Conti, who assumed the lead. A caution on Lap 59 brought nearly all the lead lap cars back into the pits for tires with Conti leading the pack off pit road. Conti would restart third but only took one lap to pass Adam Gilliland and Marcus Richardson to retake the lead. Unlike the first run when Luza kept in touch with Bussa, nobody came close to matching Conti's speed on the long run as the No. 5 drove off and left the field. Like Bussa, Conti led until pitting for routine service on Lap 106 and just like the first round of stops, a caution interrupted the pit cycle before it was complete, costing Conti and other frontrunners some track position. The final 40 laps were quite the wreckfest as drivers tried to gain positions after restarts. Chris Overland held the lead briefly but Fayash got by shortly after the restart. Despite not showing speed early in the race, Fayash looked quite strong out front and led until his unfortunate missed shift and subsequent crash one restart later. Luza is back on top of the standings thanks to his third-place effort and Clampitt's troubles. He leads Zalenski by five points while Clampitt slips to third, seven points adrift. Alfalla sits fourth, but is within striking distance as he is only 13 points out of the lead. Darik Bourdeau rounds out the top five, 32 points back. Next up is a date with Richmond International Raceway, the second-consecutive short track on the schedule. Look for many of the same faces to be up front as Luza, Alfalla, Clampitt and Zalenski look to break away from the field. With 2017 looking like one of the most competitive NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series seasons ever, can anyone break away and become the favorite for the sim racing title? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive!
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Luza claims Auto Club triumph for second-straight victory
RELATED: See the complete iRacing schedule Rookie Ryan Luza continued his hot start to the 2017 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, finding Victory Lane for the second-straight week, this time at Auto Club Speedway. Luza started on the pole and led 61 of 125 laps, but the race came down to a green-white-checkered finish after a crash with seven laps to go. Luza, along with second-place driver Logan Clampitt and 14 other sim racers, chose to stay out on worn tires for the final two laps, but Michael Conti, who was third at the time, led a group of cars into the pits for fresh rubber. Conti would restart 17th with two laps remaining. On the restart, Luza jumped out in front of Clampitt by two car lengths as Kenny Humpe and Christian Challiner battled side-by-side for third through Turns 1 and 2. Farther back, Conti was on the move after a great restart and used his fresh tires to blow past three competitors by Turn 1. However, Luza's victory was secured -- and Conti's charge halted -- by a crash off Turn 2 when Jimmy Mullis and David Rattler hit the wall and caused the cars behind them to stack up. The crash brought out the evening's sixth yellow flag, ending the race under caution. Clampitt followed Luza across the line to finish second, his third top-five finish in three races. Challiner just edged Humpe for third at the time of caution and Bobby Zalenski came home fifth. Luza opened the race by leading the first 11 laps before Zack Novak and Corey Vincent beat him out of the pit lane under the first caution. Novak led until Luza reclaimed the point on Lap 20. However, it was Clampitt with the best long run car early as he ran down and passed Luza on Lap 38, just a few laps before the leaders began green flag pit stops. Clampitt pitted a lap later than Luza and lost the lead by doing so thanks to Luza's extra lap on fresh tires. The two continued running nose-to-tail, but a caution cut their battle short on Lap 51. The caution also helped the lead-lap cars, which pitted late in the cycle, as they stayed out on their barely used tires, relegating Luza to ninth after he pitted for fresh rubber under caution. With still half the laps remaining, Luza methodically worked his way back towards the front and took the lead away from Zalenski on Lap 76 to regain control of the race. From there Luza was unchallenged the rest of the way, though Alex Bergeron did lead some laps by playing an alternate pit strategy. Luza and his No. 1 Ford Fusion are clearly the combination to beat early in the 2017 season, but it probably should not come as a total surprise considering his dominant NASCAR iRacing Pro Series season over the past winter. He will try to keep the momentum going in two weeks when the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series visits Texas Motor Speedway for Week Four of the sim racing schedule. Last year, PJ Stergios and Ray Alfalla waged a heated battle in the Lone Star State with Stergios getting the best of Alfalla in the end. Look for that duo to be strong once again this year with each of them looking to find the winner's circle for the first time in 2017. Can the rookie make it three in a row, or will a veteran get the best of him? Find out in two weeks' time on iRacing Live ! Tune into www. iracing .com/live at 8:45 p.m. ET on April 4 to catch the action live!