Conti Eighth, Davies Has Tough Night in Cali eNASCAR iRacing Duel

JR Motorsports | 3/14/2019

Brad Davies California eNASCAR iRacing Michael Conti News

Michael Conti started from the pole and finished eighth while Brad Davies had a rough showing Tuesday in the iRacing 200-miler at Auto Club Speedway.

Track Specs: 2-mile D-shaped oval / 100 laps
Conti’s start/finish: 1st/8th          
Davies’ start/finish: 4th/38th  

 

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 14, 2019) – With precious little time to come to grips with a new rules package, JR Motorsports eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series drivers Michael Conti and Brad Davies gave a good account of themselves in Tuesday night’s event at Auto Club Speedway.

Conti, driver of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, earned the pole for the 100-lap event. It was the second pole in three races for the team, and Conti’s first of the season. Brad Davies, who won the pole for the race at Las Vegas two weeks ago, qualified a strong fourth in his No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

Conti led from the waving of the green flag, but soon fell into the sucker hole caused by the new intermediate package. The new rules generated a healthy draft, and Conti was swarmed by the pack. Sliding backward in the field, Conti found himself with a tight condition in his car. At lap 19, while navigating heavy traffic, Conti cut across the nose of Eric Smith’s machine and went spinning through the grass on the front straightaway.

That incident put Conti shotgun on the field in 40th position, which necessitated some fancy footwork regarding pit strategy. Utilizing a savvy call or two, Conti found himself back in the lead at the halfway point. The second half of the race featured a spate of caution flags, and Conti weathered the carnage to rally home eighth for the second time in three races.

Davies had much the same experience as his teammate in the early part of the race, dealing with the pack and some interesting aerodynamic phenomena during the early laps as well as a different track temperature variable. Making an adjustment just before the start, Davies was able to ride the wave for the first 10 to 15 laps--even leading lap 12--before the same tight condition that affected Conti crept in.

After a shuffle at the front of the field, Davies hit trouble on lap 84. Coming down the front straightaway, two cars ahead had made contact and Davies had to slow to avoid the congestion. Attempting to regain his momentum by slipping down a lane to catch the draft, Davies didn’t see a car already in that groove and clipped the front end. The contact, which caused another caution, did slight damage to the right rea of his Chevrolet.

On the ensuing restart, Davies took the green in 25th spot and was hopeful of getting back into the top 15 in the remaining laps. Headed to Turn 1 in the middle of a five-wide stack, disaster struck again. One car all the way down on the apron squeezed the car next to Davies up into his path and shot Davies into the No. 16 of Chris Overland. The contact sent Overland up into the catch fence and brought out another yellow. Davies’ race was likewise over at that point.

Smith won the race over Keegan Leahy, Ryan Luza, Bobby Zalenski and Matt Bussa. Zack Novak, who led a race-high 28 laps, was sixth, followed by Ray Alfalla, Conti, Jimmy Mullis and Caine Cook.

Next up for the JR Motorsports iRacing team is Texas Motor Speedway on March 26.  

Michael Conti, driver No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Relatively speaking, we did not have a ton of time to prepare for this race, but we certainly made the most of it. The JRM cars proved to be superior with hot lap speed, as we qualified first and fourth on the night. However, we struggled a little bit in the race - the new aero package has created a lot of drafting opportunities, but with that has come some pretty gnarly aero effects in the pack. Looking back on tonight, we were just too tight to be competitive. We are going to go back to the drawing board and build some drivability into the car for our next race at Texas. All in all, I'm glad that spinning myself early on didn't kill our night and I'm extremely proud of [crew chief] Hastings and the strategy he employed to get us back into contention.”

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Very disappointing end to the night for the No. 88.  We had such a strong car and made big improvements in the race ability of the car compared to Las Vegas and I think it showed tonight on the track.  Our finishing position certainly doesn’t show how well we ran tonight. We were a little tight most of the race but it wasn’t enough to take us out of contention. Unfortunately, it was the wreck in turn 1 that did us in at the end of the race. Even though we’ve had two unlucky finishes in a row, our car has been performing which gives us a good outlook moving on to Texas in two weeks. We learned a lot with the setups in this new package as well as how the cars race, but there is still more work to do.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 25 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • June 1 01:00 PM ET
    Pocono Green 250Pocono Raceway
  • June 8 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 16 05:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 29 03:30 PM ET
    Camping World 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Allied Steel Buildings 200

Dover International Speedway | 5/4/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick4620
2Christopher Bell439-23
3Cole Custer391-71
4Austin Cindric381-81
5Justin Allgaier348-114
6Chase Briscoe #335-127
7John Hunter Nemechek #325-137
8Ryan Sieg315-147
9Noah Gragson #304-158
10Michael Annett297-165