It’s been a busy week in the iRacing community for superspeedway enthusiasts. There was also some big news that dropped in the NASCAR HEAT community about a new Summer Series as fans and participants await official confirmation of the next HEAT Pro League Season. Overall, it was just a busy week in the virtual world.
In official races through the week, many on the iRacing oval side have either been dipping their toes or diving head first into the NASCAR Cup Series cars at Talladega. The new physics in the sim allow for racing that is drastically different than what was seen in previous builds. NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski harkened the physics to the old Cup Series package that was run from 2014 to 2019, a package that saw him earn multiple victories at Talladega.
Keselowski also earned the victory on Saturday night in the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series, passing James Davison late in the going to take his first career virtual victory in the series.
This week on The Virtual Frontstretch, FTF Racing goes greener at Richmond, Esports Racing League gets dirty at Knoxville, Mooncar Premier Series is all over the board, Road to Pro goes full throttle at Talladega, and the 100% Cup Series gets a small recap due to going broadcast-free for Richmond.
FTF CUP SERIES: Animation Domination 200, Apr. 18
A week removed from their Martinsville disaster, the FTF Cup Series stayed in the state of Virginia for another short track date, this time at Richmond Raceway for the Speed, Inc. Animation Domination 200.
Like the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 races back in the day, there was a paint scheme theme for drivers to participate with. Drivers were asked to drive in a paint scheme featuring an animated entity, examples from the night including Shrek, Spongebob, and multiple variants of anime.
The race saw 20 fewer cautions than the week before, which allowed for a lot more green flag racing through the event. Derek Justis took his first pole of the season and spent most of his time up front, but lost the lead to Ryan Doucette after a tough choose in which the leader had stayed out to choose on old tires, and then pitted after the choose. That placed Justis in the wrong lane and Doucette in the right one, allowing for Doucette to go on and win both stages.
Eventually Martinsville winner Garrett Konrath entered the conversation for the race win. Konrath had been involved in a few incidents in the early stages with Oumar Diallo and Seth Noell, but kept speed in his car enough to still be competitive. Konrath took over with just over 25 laps to go and was able to hold off Justis for his second victory of the season.
Garrett Konrath gets his second straight win at FTF, both coming in the state of Virginia.
— FTF Racing (@FTFRacingLeague) April 19, 2021
Will Norton returned to the fold and reclaims the points lead with a fourth place effort. Brian Mercurio falls to third from the points lead after a seventh place finish with no stage points earned.
SPEED INC ANIMATION DOMINATION 200 TOP 5
- Garrett Konrath
- Derek Justis
- Michael Guest
- Will Norton
- Tyler Garey
Watch the full race replay on BottomSplit.
ESPORTS RACING LEAGUE: Tufco Flooring 50, Apr. 19
A wild night at Knoxville has flipped the script on the championship battle in the Esports Racing League. In the conjunction league with Monday Night Racing, ERL took their drivers to the dirt to see who possessed the skills to get slideways and keep up their speed.
Adam Cabot took the win, his second in a row, and perhaps his most crucial one in the title race against Presley Sorah, who finished second.
With Cabot’s victory, the points lead has swapped entering the finale at Auto Club. Sorah now trails by four points behind Cabot. Essentially, if it just comes down to those two, a win would solidify their championship over the other as well as their place in Season 3 of Monday Night Racing.
Here's how they finished:
P1 – Adam Cabot
P2 – Presley Sorah
P3 – Brendan Jenks
P4 – Gary Sexton
P5 – Nick Olsen
P6 – Anthony Alfredo
P7 – Andrew Player
P8 – Kase Kallenbach
P9 – Alek Chamberlin
P10 – Robert Hanratta
P11 – John Midgett#TufcoFlooring50 pic.twitter.com/dl5gny3Tzg
— Podium eSports (@PodiumeSports) April 20, 2021
It was also teased on Twitter that the Premier Series would make a return soon. In previous iterations of the Esports Racing League, the Premier Series invited tons of top talented drivers for a chance to even make the series, with only a select number getting in. Jimmy Mullis won the first season while Conor Horn took the second. It would be expected to have a similar format should it return, once again including top talent as opposed to the third and current season, which had an iRating cap.
TUFCO FLOORING 50 TOP 5
- Adam Cabot
- Presley Sorah
- Brendan Jenks
- Gary Sexton
- Nick Olsen
Watch the full race replay on Podium eSports.
MOONCAR PREMIER SERIES: Week 3
RACE 5: Legacy Daytona NASCAR Xfinity Series, Apr. 17
On the old, bumpy banks of Daytona Int’l Speedway, the Mooncar Premier Series bounced around for 39 laps of door to door action last Saturday night. On the final lap, Wesley Parker had control with David Schildhouse pushing behind. Schildhouse made the move to the low side and the two barrelled into Turn 3. A slight amount of contact separated the two enough for Kevin Champagne to split the difference. Champagne got to the line first while Parker crossed second and Schildhouse in third.
RACE 5 – NASCAR XFINITY AT OLD DAYTONA TOP 3 (REPLAY)
- Kevin Champagne
- Wesley Parker
- David Schildhouse
RACE 6: Daytona Bus Stop NASCAR Cup Series, Apr. 19
One of the more unique races that Mooncar puts on is a Daytona race which only utilizes the NASCAR oval and the road course bus stop on the backstretch.
iRacing doesn’t have a specific track layout for this to work, but by setting up a race at the oval and instructing drivers to take the bus stop, it turns into a crazy mixture of superspeedway racing and road course expertise.
Kevin Champagne wound up going back to back on Monday night as he held off Michael P. Frisch and Evan Rice in the closing laps to claim his second victory of the season. There was plenty of contact around the field in the bus stop, notably on restarts, but tempers did flare many times due to the clash of differing braking points.
RACE 6 – NASCAR CUP AT DAYTONA BUS STOP TOP 3 (REPLAY)
- Kevin Champagne
- Michael P. Frisch
- Evan Rice
RACE 7: Bristol Dirt NASCAR Trucks, Apr. 21
On Wednesday, the Premier Series returned to the dirt for the final time on the calendar, this time in a more stable vehicle.
After issues with each other in the previous event at the Daytona Bus Stop, Dawson Hess and David Schildhouse found each other battling once again for a victory, this time in a dirtier setting. Hess came out on top for his second victory of the season, cementing his place in the Mooncar playoffs.
Nine drivers will make the playoffs, four of them already set by having a win on the season. The trio of Champagne, Hess, and Frisch all have two victories while Tyler Oneal has a lone victory on the season. The playoffs will be set by the time this issue publishes, as Miatas at Darlington will round up the regular season.
In case anyone needs to see how Miatas will race…
I CALLED IT
Miatas + Nashville Fairgrounds are awesome btw pic.twitter.com/rprrJFm8dD
— Moonhead (@itsmoonhead) April 18, 2021
RACE 7 – NASCAR TRUCKS AT BRISTOL DIRT TOP 3 (REPLAY)
- Dawson Hess
- David Schildhouse
- Michael Cosey Jr.
All Moonhead events can be seen over on MoonVision.
ENASCAR ROAD TO PRO: Talladega, Apr. 22
The eNASCAR Road to Pro Series returned on Thursday night as drivers in 21 splits looked to improve on their chances of making the next round in the series.
Now officially halfway through the season following Talladega, the Top 70 is becoming a clearer picture. Talladega still proved that you had to have setup and racing prowess, but proved to be more of a wildcard race than the others on the schedule.
— Brad Wright (@bradwright345) April 23, 2021
It ended up a great night for Darik Bourdeau who only had to lead one lap to take the top split victory. Bourdeau extended his points lead without the drop in collecting his second victory of the season. Across the other splits, Brandon McKissic won sliding across the line in a photo finish in the second split, Chris Overland won in a photo finish with Teemu Toikka in the third split, and so and so forth through the rest of the splits.
Split 12 had an interesting winner as well…
I see you TALLADEGA
Thank you for being so kind to me this week.
RTP Split #10 winner! pic.twitter.com/zFaXiJ1TmQ
— Justin Melillo (@justinmelillo) April 23, 2021
(Pay no attention to where the tweet says 10th split. Driver must have had a little brain fade.)
Overall, it was a fun night for some, a tough night for others, and the drivers vying for the Top 70 have a clearer picture what they need in the final four races at Darlington, Charlotte, Martinsville, and Dover.
TOP 5 SPLIT WINNERS
- Darik Bourdeau
- Brandon McKissic
- Chris Overland
- Daniel Eberhardt
- John Furnas
100% CUP SERIES: Richmond 400, Apr. 17
There was no 3 Wide TV broadcast last week of the ninth race of the 2021 100% Cup Series Season, the Richmond 400 at Richmond Raceway. 27 drivers qualified for the event and there were nine cautions for 46 laps.
Jon Dulaney gets the job done at @RichmondRaceway! After a string of 2nd and 3rd places finishes, the young gun takes the checkered flag. #iracing #esports #enascar #leagueracing #simracing pic.twitter.com/MN62zd43y9
— 100cupseries (@100cupseries) April 18, 2021
RICHMOND 400 TOP 5
- Jon Dulaney
- Adam Benefiel
- Bryson Hixenbaugh
- Cameron Stone
- Brandon Pierce
100% Cup Series is at Talladega Superspeedway this week, Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET, if broadcasted, it will be on 3 Wide TV.
FTF Racing’s Cup Series will also race at Talladega, live at 8:00 p.m. ET on BottomSplit.
The Esports Racing League finale at Auto Club in the NASCAR Xfinity Series cars will go off on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on Podium eSports.
The Mooncar Premier Series’ upcoming races will be live on MoonVision throughout the week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
There is no Road to Pro this week, but their next races will go off in May at Darlington Raceway.
Finally, in the world of the NASCAR HEAT 5 platform, a new Ultimate Summer Showdown is coming up for drivers to earn over $30,000 in cash and prizes. The races will be broadcasted on the Traxion.gg network via YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
Big cash prices in store for @NASCARHeat Summer Showdown starting next week and running through July! Races will broadcast on Traxion!
— Traxion.GG (@traxiongg) April 22, 2021
The first event at Darlington Raceway will qualify from April 30 to May 6, and those who make the main event will race on May 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET for 55 laps. The rest of the schedule includes Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Details can be found at showdown.nascarheat.com or on the traxion.gg website.