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Sim Racing community raises awareness in George Floyd 100 charity race

Photo by SETH EGGERT for KICKIN' THE TIRES / iRacing

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

The sim racing community came together on iRacing for the George Floyd 100 at the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

The Mission

The George Floyd 100 was the brainchild of NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Rajah Caruth, Rick Ware Racing engineer Monon Rahman, and road course racer Brad Perez. The 100-mile race was created to honor George Floyd after his controversial death at the hands of a police officer just over one week ago.

Despite the success of the event, Rahman admitted that one sim race will not spark change and that more work is yet to be done:

“The biggest thing that I can’t emphasize enough is that we cannot end our work here. If we want, we can pat ourselves on the back, say we did a good job, and call it good for this week, but that’s not going to help fight against racial injustice. There are still going to be people who fall victim to racism and police brutality. One iRacing race isn’t going to change that.
 
“We, as a community, must keep bringing attention to these issues and help promote actions to fight it – whether that is to speak out, donate, petition, or peacefully protest. I think the George Floyd 100 can be seen as a statement from sim racers and members of the racing community that many of us recognize these injustices and that we want to actively support those who are fighting against them.”
 

The trio raised over $1,300 to both the George Floyd Fund and the NCAAP Legal Defense Fund. Trading Paints also committed to donating $1 for every unique viewer of the broadcast stream on STN Racing. In total, over 100 iRacers entered the charity event.

Rahman explained what the support of the sim racing community means to him and his community:

“To see this many people willing to support our event means so, so much. Unfortunately, in the past, when issues with racial injustice and police brutality surface in the news or on social media, there typically hasn’t been much explicitly done or said by the motorsport industry as a whole.
 
“With the recent death of George Floyd and the voices we are hearing speak out due to his death (along with other victims), we really wanted to take a stand and make sure that we as a community help bring more attention to the problems that we are seeing. 
 
“With the support we’ve gotten from the sim racing community this week, it makes me believe that we can continue to speak out freely about these issues and help spread awareness for actions and resources in order to help create the changes we need in our country and the world.”
 

On lap 20, a powerful moment took place as the entire field, led by pole sitter and race leader Brian Mercurio, ducked onto pit road. They stopped for a three-minute moment of silence to remember the lives of those lost to violence and call for change.

(Photo by SETH EGGERT for KICKIN’ THE TIRES / iRacing)

Organization for the George Floyd 100 started five days prior to the race. On Twitter, Caruth, Perez, and Rahman posted a sign-up link and donation page for the George Floyd 100. The motorsports community had not previously spoke out about racial injustice.
 
Rahman was pleasantly surprised by the support the community showed:
 
“Rarely do we see the motorsports community speak out like this when it comes to racial injustice. I’ve been really happy to see some drivers in the industry speak out Floyd’s death and movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement, but when it came to this event itself, I wasn’t too sure with how many people would be willing to sign up.
 
“I’m really proud of our community to show up and speak up for this event. It shows that there are people in this industry who want to see change and reform take place and that they support African Americans and other people of color who have fallen victim to racism and police brutality.” 
The Race

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driver Jake Nichols took the victory after spinning his No. 24 Mode Media House machine on the opening lap. Nichols took the lead from eNASCAR iRacing Road to Pro driver Allen Boes with under five laps to go. He cruised to a 3.886 second victory over fellow Coca-Cola Series driver Zack Novak.

“That was a crazy one,” admitted Nichols. “Man, it was so fun. The Roval is so intense. I’m really glad they (Caruth, Perez, Rahman) chose this because one little mistake and you’re going back. It definitely made things interesting. I don’t know if wrecking the car on lap one and having to pass the whole field smart on my hand, but it made it very fun for me.

“I had a lot of fun racing with the best out there. There was a lot of great talent in the race, over 100 entries, and you’re going to have an amazing group of drivers and people. I can’t thank everyone involved for putting this race on. There’s so much more than winning this race behind the scenes it’s only a part of it. I’m honored to win it and to be a part of it. Just a lot of emotions going on.”

(Photo by SETH EGGERT for KICKIN’ THE TIRES / iRacing)

Nichols was aided in the fact that much of his competition ran into adversity. Boes, saving fuel dropped off the pace. Novak missed the backstretch chicane with six laps to go and suffered damage. Finally, with about 10 laps to go, Mercurio and Santiago Tirres collided.

Mercurio had been dominating the race prior to his contact with Tirres. After pit stops under the only caution, he lined up in fifth. In his charge through the field, unfortunate timing cost him and Tirres, who did not pit, an opportunity at the victory.

The field was not limited to eNASCAR drivers. iRacing Production Assistant Jake Poulin, Motorsport.com’s Nick DeGroot, and streamers Justin Botelho and David Schildhouse were just some of the diverse field.

Rahman credited the blend of drivers for making the event a success:

“Having such a great blend of drivers across iRacing definitely helped our event a lot. This event would not have been possible if we didn’t have eNASCAR and Road to Pro drivers showing that they signed up for the event across social media.

“I think that helped boost interest and get some more people involved. I can’t thank everyone who shared our event on social media – we were able to get eyes on it from pros, fans, motorsports media members, NASCAR Diversity, and many other groups.”

The Finish

1. Jake Nichols [6], 2. Zack Novak [10], 3. Kenny Brady [11], 4. Allen Boes [5], 5. Austin Johnson [17], 6. Brian Mercurio [1], 7. Michael Frisch [41], 8. Chase Alvey [12], 9. Santiago Tirres [2], 10. Evan Rice [25], 11. Jake Poulin [23], 12. Mike Rasimas [4], 13. Blake Sasser [18], 14. Jacob Fischer [20], 15. Ethan H Smith [19], 16. Ray Alfalla [22], 17. Daniel Silvestri [7], 18. Garrison Hogan [40], 19. Liam Brotherton [3], 20. Justin Botelho [31], 21. Nick Olsen [27], 22. Shawn M. Butler [26], 23. Austin Drake [33], 24. Nick DeGroot [34], 25. Brandon Hauff [15], 26. Tre Shuttlesworth [35], 27. Leigh Overton [30], 28. Eric R. Prewitt [37], 29. Julian Perez [38], 30. Covy Moore [36], 31. Jonathan Taylor [24], 32. Rajah Caruth [9], 33. Brandon Buie [8], 34. Zachery Robinson [16], 35. Dylan Ault [13], 36. Steven Rosales [28], 37. Ethan Kurtz [39], 38. Donovan Strauss [14], 39. David Schildhouse [29], 40. Chris Overland [32], 41. Nate S. Stewart [21].

Laps Led: Brian Mercurio 18, Jake Nichols 12, Allen Boes 8, Santiago Tirres 6.

Hard Charger: Michael Frisch (+34)

Cautions: One for five laps. 

Margin of Victory: 3.886 seconds

Time of Race: One hour, 12 minutes, 11.477 seconds.

Average Speed: 83.379 mph.

Pole Winner: Brian Mercurio, one minute, 19.121 seconds, 103.740 mph.

Fastest Lap: Santiago Tirres, Lap 26, one minute, 19.252 seconds, 103,568 mph.

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  1. Pingback: Sim Racing community raises awareness in George Floyd 100 charity race - Kickin' the Tires | Philanthropy Media Network

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