Welcome to the latest edition of The Virtual Frontstretch, where the NASCAR sim racing community gets updated on some of the top leagues and happenings across the iRacing and NASCAR Heat platforms.
With that said, this is planning to be the last issue that will be named The Virtual Frontstretch. Starting next week, hopefully, this feature will have a new name. Stay tuned.
This week, TVF covers FTF Cup at Talladega, Esports Racing League’s finale at Auto Club, Mooncar Premier’s start to their playoffs, and without a broadcast once again, a brief summary of the 100% Cup Series, also at Talladega.
FTF CUP SERIES: Movie Showcase 500k, Apr. 25
The FTF Cup Series took to the treacherous Talladega Superspeedway to finish off Talladega week on the iRacing service on Sunday night. More than 65 drivers attempted to qualify for the event, and some title hopefuls such as David Schildhouse and Kevin King failed to make the show.
Speed, Inc.’s Ryan Nawrocki took the pole position and led the first eight laps before giving way to Collin Bowden. Bowden led the most laps on the day at 45, but only wound up on the bottom step of the podium when it ended.
Stage 1 and 2 went to Brandon Hawkin, who led 27 laps on the night. A late race wreck for the lead took Hawkin out of contention, and cleared the way for Spacestation Gaming to take control in the late stages.
With just about 40 laps to go, SSG’s Bowden had the top spot in his control. With the new aero package on iRacing, controlling the lines became easier with the bubble effect and a little bit of Joey Logano’s racing style. As the laps wound down, all bets were off, and the bubble was easier to overcome.
In Turn 3 on the final lap, SSG’s Jake Fisher took it high on Bowden with help from Michael P. Frisch. As Michael Guest filled the middle lane between Bowden and Frisch, Fisher had control of the field and held on for his second career FTF Cup Series victory, his first since 2015.
It's been a pretty good couple of weeks for @ssgracing. @jf_ish picks up the victory in the SSG Ford Mustang filling in the No. 8 for @speed_visions in the Movie Showcase 500k at virtual Talladega! pic.twitter.com/bcj5JhmZOm
— FTF Racing (@FTFRacingLeague) April 26, 2021
MOVIE SHOWCASE 500K TOP 5
- Jake Fisher
- Blake Reynolds
- Collin Bowden
- Michael P. Frisch
- Justin Knoblock
Watch the full race replay on BottomSplit.
ESPORTS RACING LEAGUE: Tufco Flooring 150, Apr. 26
With a championship and ticket to Monday Night Racing on the line, all eyes were on both Adam Cabot and Presley Sorah. Since the second race of the season, it’s been down to those two for the title, with neither pulling away as a clear favorite.
Cabot took the pole position but Sorah was fast from the green, taking the lead on the first lap. Cabot fought hard and kept within a half of a second, sometimes side by side with Sorah, even leading once at lap 17. Sorah opted for the short pit strategy, likely hoping for a caution at some point, coming in for service at lap 30. The race was scheduled for 75 laps, so Cabot decided to wait until halfway, finally peeling off at the start of lap 37.
As Sorah battled with Anthony Alfredo for the top spot, Cabot was nearly 10 seconds behind the two following his pit stop. The caution never did fall, and the six lap fresher tires at the end made all the difference.
With 12 laps to go, Cabot got alongside for the battle of a lifetime. Sorah kept with it, aware if he let Cabot get clear, his title hopes would be over. Eventually, Cabot cleared for the top spot, winning the race and championship. Cabot now joins the Monday Night Racing ranks for Season 3.
ADAM CABOT IS THE @ERLracing CHAMPION!
— Podium eSports (@PodiumeSports) April 27, 2021
TUFCO FLOORING 50 TOP 5
- Adam Cabot
- Presley Sorah
- Gary Sexton
- Anthony Alfredo
- Brendan Jenks
Watch the full race replay on Podium eSports.
MOONCAR PREMIER SERIES: Week 4
The Mooncar Premier Series is winding down on its one and only run presented by Sim Racing Loft. Series Director Travis Brown doesn’t foresee this series returning, which means that Mooncar will go back to unscheduled randomness for no reason as opposed to planned chaos.
The playoffs were finalized at Darlington last Saturday while the first round of the playoffs took place on Monday and Wednesday. Two drivers were eliminated from the playoffs after Richmond. The next two races of the season will take place in a double header on Monday night and the champion will be decided at Talladega on Wednesday.
Here’s a preview of what to expect in the finale next week.
— Shawn Butler (@iBeButlerr) April 29, 2021
RACE 8: Darlington Raceway Mazda Miatas, Apr. 24
With a playoff spot on the line, it came down to the final corner of the final lap between Max Kennon and James D. Gibson. Kennon led one lap, the last one, and qualified his way into the Mooncar Premier Series playoffs.
Gibson led almost half of the 27 laps completed on Saturday night, but as they came off the final corner, Kennon was there. The two made contact, and in a finish almost reminiscent of Ricky Craven versus Kurt Busch in 2003, this Darlington battle in Mazda Miatas came down to 0.003 seconds.
The win put Kennon in and left Gibson out, as Kennon joined Dawson Hess, David Schildhouse, Kevin Champagne, Spencer Prete, Tyler Garey, Rudy Valentin, Michael P. Frisch, Presley Sorah, and Tyler Oneal in the 10-man playoff field.
RACE 8 – MAZDA MIATAS AT DARLINGTON TOP 3 (REPLAY)
- Max Kennon
- James D. Gibson
- Thomas Miller
RACE 9: Watkins Glen Int’l Mazda Miatas, Apr. 26
Keeping it in the Miatas, a car that Mooncar brought into the light recently with oval enthusiasts for its extreme competition on certain oval tracks, the ninth race of the season went road racing instead to start the playoffs.
For James D. Gibson, a win two nights earlier would have meant a playoff berth. Instead, he was the first man out, racing only for his own pride with nothing to gain. Gibson finally claimed his first victory of the season after a wild one around Watkins Glen.
Seven cars were racing under a blanket on the final lap, with some playoff drivers like Prete, Kennon and Garey mixing it up with a handful of drivers just trying to win. Tons of contact across the line set the finishing order, with the Top 4 all outside of the playoffs. Kennon finished the best of the playoff guys, while drivers like Champagne, Oneal, Frisch and Sorah all finished outside the Top 20.
RACE 9 – MAZDA MIATAS AT WATKINS GLEN TOP 3 (REPLAY)
- James D. Gibson
- Michael Cosey Jr.
- Nate Stewart
RACE 10: Richmond Raceway Super Late Models, Apr. 28
Two drivers would be eliminated following the Richmond sprint. 30 laps were scheduled, but the race went into multiple overtime attempts after 35 laps of caution.
On the outside looking in after Watkins Glen, Frisch put on a clinic on Wednesday night, leading every lap but one, which went to Shawn M. Butler on lap 22. The race saw multiple cautions, seven total, for more laps than what was originally scheduled.
Max Kennon failed to make the race, and was eliminated by default. Dawson Hess, who won two races on the season, was also eliminated after a 27th place finish.
RACE 10 – SUPER LATES AT RICHMOND TOP 3 (REPLAY)
- Michael P. Frisch
- Shawn M. Butler
- Kevin Champagne
All Moonhead events can be seen over on MoonVision.
100% CUP SERIES: Talladega 500, Apr. 24
Once again, there was no 3 Wide TV broadcast last week. The tenth race of the 2021 100% Cup Series Season, the Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, had 35 drivers in attendance. Dustin Hall picked up his first victory of the season by 0.021 seconds over Bryson Hixenbaugh.
TALLADEGA 500 TOP 5
- Dustin Hall
- Bryson Hixenbaugh
- Mason Lowery
- Cameron Stone
- Kyle Ammon
100% Cup Series is at Kansas Speedway this week, Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. The replay will be available on 3 Wide TV as the race will already be completed by the time this article is posted.
FTF Racing’s Cup Series will go fantasy racing again this weekend. The FTF schedule usually follows the NASCAR Cup schedule, but sometimes they’ll throw in a few “what if” weekends into the fold where tracks might have multiple race dates. This weekend is called “Memeweeks” and the Cup race will be at virtual Iowa Speedway, live at 8:00 p.m. ET on BottomSplit.
With ERL off the menu, MNR is back in its place! The third season at Monday Night Racing begins with NASCAR Cup cars at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on Podium eSports.
The Mooncar Premier Series presented by Sim Racing Loft wraps up their first and only season. The final three races will be live on MoonVision on Monday and Wednesday.
The eNASCAR Road to Pro Series returns for the fifth race of the season at Darlington Raceway. Top split will be on Podium eSports while the second split will go off on STN Racing. Both start at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Qualifying is open now for the NASCAR Heat 5 Ultimate Summer Showdown. Until the sixth of May, hopeful Xbox and PlayStation participants can attempt to make the field for the first event in less than three weeks. The first race at Darlington Raceway will be on Thursday May 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET on the Traxion network.