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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 !
JR Motorsports ramps up with 2017 expansion
RELATED: Driver Tracker " On the move: Changes in store for 2017 The encore for an organization that placed both of its full-time drivers into the Championship 4 field in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase last year has the chance to be even greater. JR Motorsports has that unique possibility, an opportunity granted by not sitting still. Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier return to the fold after prosperous debut years with the team, but that's where the offseason status quo ends. JRM plans a full-court press for the upcoming XFINITY season, expanding from two to four full-time drivers in an all-out push to bring home the championship it barely missed out on in 2017. "To have that opportunity to go up against three teammates, to see the growth in our shop, to see the growth in our teams, it's really, really fun to watch," Allgaier said. "I feel like if you came back here next year and said we'd have four cars from JR Motorsports in the final four, it wouldn't surprise me at all." A four-car sweep for the Homestead-Miami finale in November would mean stellar introductions by the two newest faces in the JRM stable: up-and-coming teenager William Byron, a NASCAR Next alum, and 30-year-old vet Michael Annett , back in XFINITY after a three-year stint in NASCAR's top division. The addition of Byron, a 19-year-old prospect in the Hendrick Motorsports system, actually counts as a reunion. The Liberty University student was a former driver for JRM's Late Model program on the weekly and touring level. His teammates have already seen what he can do in top-level equipment. Byron won seven times in his rookie NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, with only a crucial engine failure in 2016's penultimate race keeping him from the championship fight. It's the reason Sadler has touted him as "a star of the future" and why Allgaier echoed the thought, calling Byron "an absolute class act and an amazing talent." Kelley Earnhardt Miller -- who co-owns JRM with her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- spoke with tones of regret in describing how Byron got away in late 2015, snapped up by Kyle Busch Motorsports and seemingly earmarked for an upward career arc in the Toyota pipeline. That changed last August when team owner Rick Hendrick brought him back into the Chevrolet camp, cognizant of the creeping advancement in age of his Monster Energy Cup Series roster. "For that to all come back full circle, we're real excited about it," Earnhardt Miller told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio last month. "He's just a great kid and a good family, and his story is just so cool -- doing the computer racing [on iRacing ] and then telling his dad he wants to race and then not racing until he was 15. It's just a good story. But Mr. Hendrick deserves the credit there, trying to look at his next moves because he's going to have some drivers that are on the retirement horizon in the next several years, so smart move for him to make all that happen." Said Byron: "I just remember their ultimate goal for me when I started racing Late Models was so I could race an XFINITY car there. In a weird way, I got back to that and it's going to be really cool to return next year." To accommodate the escalated XFINITY Series growth, which Earnhardt Miller said has maxed out the team's resources, JR Motorsports has closed its truck series operation. Cole Custer , who drove the JRM No. 00 truck the last two seasons, has since moved on to Stewart-Haas Racing 's XFINITY program. As in past years, JR Motorsports plans to run an extra XFINITY entry in select races with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers Earnhardt and Kasey Kahne behind the wheel for two races each. But at the heart of its growth are the core four XFINITY regulars, a direction chosen in light of new driver participation guidelines that go into effect in 2017. The continuity will keep JRM from scrambling to shuffle its roster once the Chase playoff begins and the limits on Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers moonlighting in the XFINITY ranks become more stringent. But the organization will still need to make inroads against stout competition, especially Joe Gibbs Racing , which won 19 of the 33 XFINITY races last season and took the other two spots in the four-driver championship round. Reminded of the heady assignment a day after last season's finale, Allgaier was unwavering. "Even with the Gibbs guys," Allgaier said. "I don't know, I just feel like with the packages that we've seen of what's a possibility for the XFINITY Series next year, the work that we're doing at the shop and the cars and just all the things that we've been working on, I really think next year's an opportunity for us at JR Motorsports."
iRacing .com, PEAK ink multi-year commitment
Green flag waves for 2014 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series on February 25
Wise gets iRacing sponsorship for Dover
Partnership marks his second high-profile online sponsor of the season
First-time winner Clampitt takes New Hampshire
Logan Clampitt (High Performance Motorsports) visited Victory Lane for the first time in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, holding off championship contenders Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) and PJ Stergios (ineX Racing) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Brad Davies came home behind Alfalla and Stergios, with Ryan Lowe rounding out the top five. Clampitt used pit strategy to take the lead after a round of green-flag pit stops late in the race and never looked back. He showed impressive poise for a rookie on a pair of late-race restarts, maintaining the lead as chaos erupted behind him. Stergios started on pole but outside polesitter Nick Ottinger had the fastest car on the first run and moved into the lead on Lap 12. Ottinger began building a gap that grew to nearly 1.5 seconds before the first caution flag flew on Lap 23, drawing the leaders to pit road. The leaders all took four fresh tires and Ottinger won the race off pit road, barely beating Stergios who restarted in second. On the next run, Alfalla moved to second and kept pace with Ottinger as Stergios fell to fourth behind Josh Berry . The four would run in this order until the third caution flew on Lap 52 for Chris Overland's spin. Ottinger once again kept the lead on pit road and looked to run away from the field when the green flag flew. This time, however, Ottinger had company at the front as Alfalla showed he could keep pace as the run wore on. On Lap 92 Alfalla made his move on the bottom and drew alongside Ottinger through Turns 3 and 4 but could not complete the pass as he lost drive off the corner on the flatter bottom groove. For the next nine laps Alfalla hounded the race leader, diving to the inside on multiple occasions without success. Finally, on Lap 101, Alfalla got a strong run off Turn 2 and completed the pass entering Turn 3. The lead awarded Alfalla with an important bonus point, but green flag pit stops loomed. Clampitt pitted a couple laps before the race leaders and the strategy paid off as he inherited the lead with 30 laps to go once the pit cycle completed. Alfalla was closing with his fresher tires, but Timmy Hill 's spin with 18 to go brought the leaders to pit road and set up the dash to the finish. Alfalla maintains the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze championship lead into the series finale thanks to his runner-up finish. He gained one point on Stergios and holds a slim five-point lead. Disaster nearly struck Stergios with 10 laps to go when Mitchell Hunt crashed off Turn 2, slamming into Stergios' door in the process. Somehow, Stergios continued on despite the damage and kept pace well enough to score a strong finish. Jake Stergios appears relatively safe in third place, 104 points back of Alfalla and 22 points ahead of fourth-place driver Overland. Overland is in the middle of a points battle of his own as Dylan Duval (The TEAM) is now only two points behind after Overland's troubles left him in 31st. The battle for the back end of the top five will likely be decided between the two as Kenny Humpe is 27 points back of Duval after experiencing Internet troubles. With only one race remaining, all eyes will be on Alfalla and Stergios as the twosome head to Homestead-Miami Speedway in search of a NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series title title. Stergios is looking for his first championship while Alfalla is hoping to win his third after finishing runner-up the past three seasons. A five-point margin gives Alfalla the advantage, but if Stergios can get out to an early lead the pressure will be squarely on Alfalla. Who will take home the crown? Be sure to tune into iRacing Live in two weeks to see the conclusion of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series from Homestead!