Spotter Josh Williams upsets the pros in The Replacements 100

Photo by Cisco Scaramuzza/iRacing

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

While real-world racing was side-lined by the COVID-19 pandemic, Josh Williams dominated The Replacements 100 broadcasted by Podium eSports at the virtual Atlanta Motor Speedway on iRacing.

On a normal weekend, Josh Williams is a spotter for Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney. After starting second in the virtual No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang, he moved pole sitter William Byron out of the way for the lead and never looked back.

Williams primary source of competition throughout the race was restarts. Byron and Parker Kligerman were the two primary challengers for the Team Penske employee.

Kligerman appeared to be closing in on Williams when an equipment issue took the NASCAR on NBC Analyst out of contention. On social media, he explained that his iRacing simulation switched from full screen to window mode. A black screen led Kligerman to slamming the outside wall in turn 1.

On the final restart, Byron got to Williams’ outside several times. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was never able to stay alongside Williams for an extended period of time. Set-up for the long run, Blaney’s spotter was patient and waited for Byron to fade before cruising to victory.

“It was tough,” Josh Williams explained in the virtual victory lane to Podium eSports’ James Pike. “I was more setup-prepared to run the long run. I was trying to take care of my stuff a little bit. We never really got long runs in the first half of the race. You just had to defend pretty hard the first few laps until everybody got single file.

“I was worried with having to pit, and the restarts. If you lose the lead, it’s going to be pretty hard to pass again, so just tried to defend the lead. Once we got 10 or 15 laps on our tires, I was pretty comfortable with it.”

Williams took the checkered flag with just over two seconds to spare over Byron. Steven Steffen, the travel liaison for JR Motorsports, finished third, TJ Majors, the spotter for Joey Logano was fourth, and Parker Kligerman rebounded to finish fifth after using his only quick repair.

Tyler Overstreet, Garrett Smithley, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bubba Wallace, and Coleman Pressley rounded out the top-10 on iRacing.

The Replacements 100 featured amateurs and pros from both inside and outside the racing industry. William Byron’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, musician Tim Dugger, iRacing’s Kevin Iannarelli, and former NFL lineman Kyle Long all participated. Each were involved in at least one of the race’s six cautions.

One of the pre-race favorites and one of the biggest names that took part, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was swept up in an early incident. The part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and team co-owner had nowhere to go after KC Herschel and Harrison Burton got together. Earnhardt used his one and only quick repair. He was forced to climb up through the field for the rest of the race.

Also in The Replacements 100 were NASCAR Cup Series drivers Alex Bowman, Garrett Smithley, and Bubba Wallace. The NASCAR Xfinity Series was represented by Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley, and Noah Gragson. While Ben Rhodes and Tyler Ankrum represented the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series drivers.

The finish:

Josh Williams, William Byron, Steven Steffen, TJ Majors, Parker Kligerman, Tyler Overstreet, Garrett Smithley, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bubba Wallace, Coleman Pressley, Chase Briscoe, Bryan Boris Cook, Justin Haley, John Theodore, Kevin Iannarelli, KC Herschel, Kyle Long, Anthony Pelican, Tyler Truex, Gary Sexton, Anthony Alfredo, Tim Dugger, John Guidone, Harrison Burton, Myatt Snider, Chad Knaus, Ben Rhodes, Matt Noyce, Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Taylor Gray, Johnathon Davis, Kevin Hamlin, Tyler Ankrum, Aly Osman, Noah Gragson, Judd Danielson.

Lead Changes: None.

Lap Leader(s): Josh Williams 1-100.

Caution Flags: Six for 24 laps.

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  1. Pingback: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Drivers to Guest Star in the “Campionato Italiano NASCAR” Championship on iRacing Next Monday – World of EuroNASCAR

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