NASCAR Race Weekend Central

iRacing Weekly Roundup: Firecracker 400, 200 Lineups Set After Qualifying Round

It’s been another virtually hectic week on the iRacing platform. Nashville Superspeedway was the main talk of the weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series made their debut at the newly refurbished facility. The virtual edition of the track was added during the 2021 Season 3 update and, after a few updates, the track became a fantastic virtual track to race at.

In the professional iRacing series, Bobby Zalenski became the 10th different winner in 10 races. That makes the playoff picture as convoluted as ever with four races still remaining until the playoffs.

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Bobby Zalenski Survives Late-Race Carnage, Wins at Pocono

The two NASCAR Cup-style series in the roundup, 100% and FTF, took their talents to Nashville last week while Monday Night Racing went a little further west to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, racing in Super Late Models. Meanwhile, eRacr.gg basically finalized its lineups for the Firecracker races that will run this upcoming week.

100% CUP SERIES | SATURDAYS AT 8:30 p.m. ET

There have been two events since the last race covered in the roundup, one last week as normal, but also the first of two races in the Pocono doubleheader took place on Friday night. The second race of the Pocono double will take place on Saturday night, and that will be covered in the next roundup.

RACE 17: NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY, June 19

Last week the series went over to Nashville Superspeedway for its first trip to the 1.33-mile concrete facility. Three hundred laps were on the board for the night and 29 drivers were in attendance.

History was made with Bryson Hixenbaugh taking the flag for his 20th career series victory. Hixenbaugh was unmatched all night as he won the pole, swept both stages, led 254 laps and took the win with a margin of more than 12 seconds back to Kevin Steele. Adam Benefiel challenged early but wound up finishing seventh. 

TURTLE JUICE 400 TOP 5

  1. Bryson Hixenbaugh
  2. Kevin Steele
  3. Robert Miller
  4. Mason Lowery
  5. Matt White

RACE 18: POCONO RACEWAY, June 25

The first of two Pocono races featured Adam Benefiel returning to victory lane in the Friday night special event. Benefiel started second to pole sitter Jon Dulaney. The two traded the lead through the race, Dulaney leading the most laps on the night at 62, but at the end of an overtime restart Benefiel outlasted Kevin Steele for the victory.

The victory ties Benefiel with Bryson Hixenbaugh for the most wins on the season at five. It’s Benefiel’s first win since the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt event back in March. The second round of the doubleheader at Pocono will take place on Saturday night and will be covered in next week’s roundup.

POCONO 325 TOP 5

  1. Adam Benefiel
  2. Kevin Steele
  3. Jon Dulaney
  4. Sean O’ Brien Jr.
  5. Alex Prinsen

STANDINGS | SCHEDULE

Check out all the previous race broadcasts over at 3 Wide TV.

FTF CUP SERIES | SUNDAYS AT 8:00 p.m. ET

RACE 17: NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY, June 20

It was the Kevin King show once again on Sunday night in the Kickin’ the Tires 400k at Nashville Superspeedway. In a redemption arc from the previous week at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he lost fuel pressure off of turn 4, losing the race to Garrett Konrath in the process, this time King was able to pit perfectly in the long green-flag run to the finish.

The first 25 laps in the race were filled with a handful of cautions, but once things settled down at the new digs on the service it was clean and green through the remainder of stage one, all through the second and clear to the checkered flag. Konrath was able to take the first stage by pitting short but a shorter pit was not the call for the ultimate win. 

That became evident in the second stage when King was able to outrun Konrath for the green-checkered flag. From there, a final pit stop on the night once again placed Konrath in the best spot should a late caution fall, but that caution never came, allowing King to fly by and take his second win of the 2021 season.

KICKIN’ THE TIRES 400K TOP 5

  1. Kevin King
  2. Garrett Konrath
  3. Brian Mercurio
  4. Josh Parker
  5. Michael P Frisch

With his second win of the season, King now leads the series in playoff points earned, a total of 18 over Michael Guest’s 17 and Konrath’s 16. Brian Mercurio continues to lead the standings despite his inability to find victory lane. He doesn’t need to win to make the playoffs, especially if he’s leading the points by the end of Daytona, but five extra points to start the playoffs couldn’t hurt.

STANDINGS | SCHEDULE

Check out the broadcast replays over on BottomSplit.

MONDAY NIGHT RACING | MONDAYS AT 8:00 p.m. ET

RACE 7: WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY, June 21

When Shane van Gisbergen shows up, the rest of the field is officially on notice. In his fifth start in seven races on the third season so far, van Gisbergen was able to do what he’s done most of the time he races in Monday Night Racing.

Win.

Van Gisbergen likes to toy with the field, it seems. His first win came from the pole position at Watkins Glen International, but since then he’s started fifth at Bristol, 13th at Knoxville Raceway and now 27th at Gateway. It doesn’t take long for him to work his way into the lead, though, dominating at every opportunity.

The SuperCars champion wasn’t able to lead the most laps this time. That honor went to the defending MNR champion Will Rodgers, but once Van Gisbergen got the lead with 31 laps to go, he never wavered and went on to claim another one, locking him into postseason contention by the start count.

BEEF JERKY UNLIMITED 120 TOP 5

  1. Shane van Gisbergen
  2. Anders Krohn
  3. Anthony Alfredo
  4. Max Kennon
  5. David Schildhouse

With only two races until the playoffs, a handful of drivers are feeling comfortable heading into the next race at Road America. The bubble, however, is about to burst with Justin Melillo, DJ Cummings, Mark Rebilas, Ford Martin and Steve Auffant all within eight points. 

Check out the broadcasts over at Podium Esports.

ERACR.GG FIRECRACKER 400 QUALIFYING ROUND

The second round of attempting to make the eRacr.gg Firecracker 400 is in the books and the 43 starters are set for the main event on Wednesday night (June 30).

Nick Ottinger once again took the pole position, which made him eligible for the Radius Last-To-First Challenge. Ottinger accepted on the spot and will eventually start 43rd, which hands control of the race over to his technical teammates Michael Conti, Bob Bryant and John Gorlinsky, the other drivers who qualified with a 42-second lap time.

The second night was bump night. Only 20 spots were locked from the first night and anyone outside the top 20 had the choice to either stand on their time or retry, erasing their Wednesday qualifying time. A total of 61 drivers opted to re-qualify, leaving only seven drivers to stand on their time. Both Blake Near and Dale Earnhardt Jr. chose not to go again, and unfortunately for both of them, they were bumped out of the top 42 after being inside the night before.

It was either the track or the setups, but the cars certainly picked up speed. Caine Cook took the fastest time on the second night and will start 21st. The first driver to miss the 400 field was Jake Fisher by 0.001 seconds behind Joseph Gulotta. Unless someone drops out of the main event, Fisher will still get to compete against 42 others that didn’t make the 400 over in the Firecracker 200 on Monday night (June 28).

Junior Nation was devastated that Earnhardt Jr. was knocked out, but fear not, eRacr.gg promoters have added him in as the 43rd starter via the promoter’s choice.

The stream will be on eRacr.gg for the 200, but it will be broadcasted by personalities from the BottomSplit crew and Moonhead himself, Travis Brown, making the event presented by MoonSplit. The main event will see the normal booth back in control, including NASCAR drivers Landon Cassill and Parker Kligerman.

COMING UP

100% Cup Series will run the second head of their doubleheader at Pocono Raceway on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. The replay will be available on 3 Wide TV.

FTF Racing will also be racing a doubleheader at Pocono on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday will be live at 8:00 p.m. ET on BottomSplit

Monday Night Racing heads to Road America in iRacing’s NASCAR NEXT Gen this week. The broadcast will start at 8:00 p.m. ET on Podium eSports.

Finally, the eRacr.gg Blue Emu Firecracker 400 event concludes this week. The Firecracker 200 presented by MoonSplit will be on Monday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The main event, the 400, will be on Wednesday night, also at 8:00 p.m. ET. Catch the action over on eRacr.gg.

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