By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Total Advantage Motorsport’s Steven Wilson took advantage of overtime to edge out Mitchell deJong in the eNASCAR iRacing Road to Pro Series.
The final green flag stops on lap 98 and 99 saw Wilson drop from one truck length behind deJong to just over four seconds. The World of Outlaws Late Model iRacing World Championship driver sliced the lead down to just a handful of truck lengths over the next 30 laps.
Just as Wilson had settled in for a second-place finish when the caution waved with three laps to go. Alek Martinez spun after contact from Isaac Gann. Martinez’s spin forced the race into overtime.
As the field pitted, deJong overshot his pit stall. Wilson’s teammate, Femi Olat won the race off pit road with Wilson in tow. Olat and Wilson lined up second and third however as Burton-Kligerman eSports’ Briar LaPradd opted not to pit.
On the restart Wilson immediately made the battle for the lead a three-wide affair. With a push from deJong the duo cleared their competition before another caution waved. Adam Gilliland attempted to change lanes and sparked an accident that wiped out ARCA Menards Series driver Kaden Honeycutt.
During the second attempt at overtime, deJong jumped to the outside of Wilson. The two iRacers dueled throughout the final two laps. In a photo finish Wilson narrowly beat deJong to the line by 0.032 seconds. Total Advantage swept the rest of the top-five with Allen Boes, Olat, and Michael Gonzales filling out the top-five.
“We had a great piece tonight with Total Advantage,” explained Wilson. “Our drivers finished out of the top-six we had five of them. It’s just a great week for us. It was a lot of fun to race with Mitchell there. We went green for 130 plus laps, all the way to the end until we had green-white-checkers.
“It was a lot of fun out here; Mitchell and I were brawling. If it had stayed green, I think I would have gotten to his back bumper but wouldn’t have been able to pass him. The draft this week helped a lot. You were able to save tires behind someone, so I was just chilling behind Mitchell at the start of a run.
“He was just doing enough to not overdo it, saving tires too. It seemed like he had a fast setup under him too. Through one and two I was able to get a run on him, but his line in three and four, he was arcing it a ton to get a good exit off. That line was not working for me. I just could never get a run on him.”
Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge winner Eddie Kerner, Derek Justis, Ryan Doucette, polesitter Garrett Konrath, and Anthony Burroughs completed the top-10.
After staying out, LaPradd’s strategy slowly sputtered. After the second caution waved, he coasted around the 1.5-mile track on the apron with 0.8 gallons of fuel. On the final lap LaPradd ran out of fuel on the backstretch. He coasted to the line in 28th.
deJong appeared to have the race in cruise control. The Virtual Racing School driver took the lead on lap 25. From that point deJong dominated at the virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He led 98 laps despite two rounds of green flag pit stops.
The victory increased Wilson’s command of the Road to Pro points standings. Before the one drop week is factored in, he leads Boes by 43-points with four weeks remaining.
Meanwhile the battle for the transfer position continues. Mike Rasimas holds the final transfer spot with the drop week considered. Olat, Drew Faryniarz, and Gonzales are also inside the top-20. Rasimas is 20-points up on Mitchell Hunt. Also on the outside looking in are Donovan Strauss, Will Norton, Kevin King, and Shawn Butler.
The top-20 in points will advance to the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series.
1. Steven Wilson , 2. Mitchell deJong , 3. Allen Boes , 4. Femi Olat , 5. Michael Gonzales , 6. Eddie Kerner , 7. Derek Justis , 8. Ryan Doucette , 9. Garrett Konrath , 10. Anthony Burroughs , 11. Jarrett Liebert , 12. Jake Matheson , 13. Donovan Strauss , 14. Drew Faryniarz , 15. Michael Fenlason , 16. Casey Tucker , 17. Isaac Gann , 18. Dylan C Jones , 19. Blake Near , 20. Garrett Manes , 21. Brian Mercurio , 22. Will Norton , 23. Justin Lisonbee , 24. Bryan Blackford , 25. Seth DeMerchant , 26. Alek Martinez , 27. Kaden Honeycutt , 28. Briar LaPradd , 29. Braden Boulos , 30. Adam Gilliland , 31. Brandon Hauff , 32. Boyd Hoggan , 33. Carson Hocevar , 34. Treyten Lapcevich .
Lead Changes: 10 among eight drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Kaden Honeycutt 1-24, Mitchel deJong 25-47, Femi Olat 48-50, Adam Gilliland 51-52, Mitchell deJong 53-92, Steven Wilson 93-94, Allen Boes 95-96, Ryan Doucette 97-98, Mitchell deJong 99-132, Briar LaPradd 133-136, Steven Wilson 137-144.
Laps Led: Mitchell deJong 98, Kaden Honeycutt 24, Steven Wilson 10, Briar LaPradd 4, Allen Boes 2, Ryan Doucette 2, Adam Gilliland 2, Femi Olat 2.
Hard Charger: Casey Tucker (+17)
Tough Break: Kaden Honeycutt (-24)
Cautions: Two for 10 laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.032 seconds.
Time of Race: One Hour, 28 minutes, 12.983 seconds.
Average Speed: 146.912 MPH.
Pole Winner: Garrett Konrath, 30.557 seconds (179.719 MPH)
Fastest Lap: Donovan Strauss, Lap 144, 30.735 seconds (175.638 MPH)
Strength of Field: 7,203 average iRating.
Road to Pro Rundown: Steven Wilson (Top Split), Nickolas Shelton (Second Split), Collin Bowden (Third Split), Matt Kemp (Fourth Split), Timothy O’Connor (Fifth Split), Alex C Harris (Sixth Split), Gary Peck (Seventh Split), Cole Sink (Eighth Split), Aaron Gerwitz (Ninth Split), Paul Donnelly (10th Split).