The NASCAR Heat Pro League held its seventh round in the land of cornfields. By the end of the night, Justin Brooks and Cody Giles stood tall at virtual Iowa Speedway.
The Xbox One race featured the usual duo of Brooks and Daniel Buttafuoco several seconds ahead of the field for much of the race. Even though Brooks made his first green flag pit stop on lap 47 — one lap after Buttafuoco — he still was able to retake the lead later on.
Menwhile, Petty eSports driver Diego Alvarado moved up to third behind the leaders before he made his second pit stop under green. Unfortunately, the caution flag waved with 23 laps to go, which put him well in the back of the pack.
Another race running in the podium with nothing to show for it in the stat book. Mystery caution trapped us a lap down. Best car setup I’ve ever had in a #eNASCARHeat race. P9
— Diego Alvarado (@DiegoxAlv) June 19, 2020
The rest of the field was also shuffled since some made their pit stops prior to the yellow flag waving. As a result, Tyler Dohar, Sam Morris and Matthew Heale saw themselves within the top five. However, another caution came with eight laps to go, which resulted in some more shuffling in the lineup.
Brooks and Buttafuoco still maintained the top two positions by race’s end, with the former capturing his fourth win of the season. Brian Tedeschi, Morris and Heale rounded out the top five drivers.
On the PlayStation side, Wood Brothers Gaming’s Giles held serve over Brandyn Gritton in the final few laps to claim his first victory of 2020. Giles was somewhat speechless after the race, as he described his thoughts after the last caution.
“I don’t know, it was wild,” Giles told the broadcast team. “Honestly I was just thinking to myself, ‘Man if I could just get through (turn) one, and get through going into (turn) three, I think that I should be fine.’ That last restart, that was hectic. Before the caution came out, we were going to make it I believe; that caution- it stacked up a lot of things and put a challenge up for us, especially going into (turn) one there but we finally got it.
“I’ve honestly been searching for a win ever since last season and I finally got one, and man it feels really good. It feels really good to win here tonight for the first time. I’m just happy right now.”
Joey Stone, Mike Braas and Josh Harbin nabbed the rest of the top five positions.
The PS4 drivers were much more active throughout their event, beginning with lap one. Harbin and Maxwell Castro collided into the wall, which brought out the caution.
When the race restarted four laps later, Kyle Arnold and Brandyn Gritton started out on the front row but quickly dropped back as those around them jockeyed for positions. Then another caution period came out for Gritton flying into the air.
Josh Parker found himself at the front on the next restart, but on lap 20, he suffered internet issues that caused his car to move erratically. As a result, he caused other cars behind him to wreck, which again brought out the yellow flag. He still led after the next restart, though Giles and Braas passed him around lap 43. Then, with 28 laps to go Parker and Harbin got into the wall, and the field slowed again. Parker ended up retiring his car after this incident.
Meanwhile, the race calmed down briefly as Giles and Braas retained the top two spots until the final caution period for a stopped Brandon Hanna. Braas then dropped to fourth place after the restart.
Harbin had a good comeback after being involved in several accidents. Still, it was Giles and Wood Brothers Gaming who had a good confidence boost at the end of the evening.
“This is definitely a big confidence boost for me; honestly this is a big momentum-getter for next week too as well,” said Giles. “This definitely pushes us forward as a team. I think Wood Brothers Gaming is going to go even further, to the championship hopefully, just by this momentum, just for tonight. Hopefully we can grow more in this segment and next.”
Giles jumped up to the top spot in the standings after leading several laps and claiming the win at Iowa.
Here are the results from both events:
— NASCAR Heat (@NASCARHeat) June 19, 2020
The final race in the second segment is at Atlanta Motor Speedway next Thursday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET on eNASCAR.com/live.