It was week number eight for the iRacing Late Model Tour, and it took a swing to the north and Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut. The track is best known for great Modified racing, but the Late Models also put on a great show at Stafford. With its long turns and relatively short straightaways, Stafford is a driver’s track where the key is patience. That’s a trait many sim racers lack, and this field was evidence of that. Racing incidents begat more incidents as emotions began to boil with some of the drivers.
Gary Dangelo captured the pole for this strength-of-field feature. Shawn Neidert started outside Dangelo for the fifty lap feature. Dangelo got a good start and Neidert remained patient, dropping in line in second place for the first lap. Other drivers forgot that it was lap one and drove like it was the last lap, using the chrome horn and the apron to pass.
Kevin Myers slowed to avoid colliding with Albert Berry. Berry had also checked up to avoid the cars of Derek Edwards and Cleber Camilo Gomes. Christopher Clanton thought it was lap forty-nine and decided to make it three-wide in lieu of avoiding a crash. It was Clifford Sherman and Clanton with Jennifer Kosten in the middle. Kosten wisely lifted to avoid a crash.
On lap two, Clifford Sherman spun Anthony Steven around, then on lap three, outside pole sitter Shawn Neidert slammed the wall on the back stretch, collecting the hard luck racer of the past several weeks, Kevin Myers. Myers did pit but somehow managed to stay on the lead lap. Neidert also pitted but his stop was more lengthy.
For the next several laps, Jennifer Kosten followed Christopher Clanton and they picked their ways through the field of cars with patience. Kosten finally saw an opportunity to pass Clanton for the fifth position. She made her move entering turn three, taking the inside line away from Clanton. Before she could complete her pass, Clanton came down and clipped her right rear, nearly turning her into the outside wall. Kosten regrouped quickly and moved back down the track, nicking Clanton and sending him into the outside wall.
Meanwhile, in turns one and two, Clifford Sherman spun around and collected–guess who–Kevin Myers. Sherman drove away from the incident, but Myers parked his hot rod in frustration.
While these incidents were taking place, Dangelo pulled away to a five-second lead over second-place Albert Berry. Elliot Davis was running in the third position, followed by Cleber Camilo Gomes. Kosten ran down Gomes and passed him for fourt on lap seventeen. She then set her sights on Davis who was also gaining on Albert Berry in second place. Second, third, and fourth were tightening up.
On lap twenty-five, Davis made his way around Berry. Kosten followed him through which left Berry in fourth place. Within five laps, Kosten passed Elliot Davis. Now in second place, Kosten began closing the gap on the leader, Gary Dangelo. Dangelo had lost a lot of ground dealing with the lapped car of Christopher Clanton. Clanton was on fast tires, and finally got around Dangelo, but not before Dangelo had lost significant ground on Kosten.
By lap thirty-nine, Dangelo had a mirror full of Jennifer Kosten, a woman on a mission. Kosten made the pass on lap forty, then had to deal with the lapped cars of Clanton and Neidert. Kosten was able to make the pass on Neidert as he slipped high in turn one. Neidert gathered it in and pulled low again, directly in front of Dangelo, effectively slamming the door in his face.
Dangelo did find his way around Neidert on the next lap, but Neidert slammed the wall and took Dangelo out with him. Albert Berry was also involved. Dangelo and Berry were able to continue, but Neidert’s night was over.
Lapped traffic continued to play a role in this race as Christopher Clanton intentionally blocked and held up the leader, Jennifer Kosten. Not only did he block, but he also brake-checked a time or two. There is no rule about lapped cars moving over for the leaders in iRacing, but there should be, and Christopher Clanton should be suspended for his actions.
Kosten’s patience wore thin on the last lap of the race and she began to apply the bumper to Clanton. Clanton brake-checked again in turn four. Kosten went to the apron to hold off Davis and avoid crashing with Clanton. Clanton drove low and pushed Kosten into the grass. Kosten spun but still crossed the start-finish line in the lead, winning the race in a wild finish. It was Kosten’s first iRacing Late Model victory. Elliot Davis second, less then two-tenths of a second behind Kosten. Alber Berry was third, followed by Cleber Camilo Gomes and Anthony Stevens.
Next week, the Late Model series will head south again for another race at Langley Speedway. This four-tenths-mile oval is very wide and almost flat. There’s only one racing line, but if you make a mistake there is a lot of room to recover. Langley Speedway is another track that once existed in real life, but now only exists in the iRacing world.