Conti Finishes Second, Davies 11th in Racy Sonoma eNASCAR Tilt

JR Motorsports | 6/13/2019

Brad Davies eNASCAR FilterTime iRacing Michael Conti News The Dale Jr. Foundation Win Dale Jr.’s Ride

A runner-up finish for Michael Conti and a rebound after an early spin for Brad Davies was the story Tuesday night for JRM's iRacing drivers at Sonoma.

Track Specs: 2.53-mile road course / 55 laps

Conti’s start/finish: 3rd/2nd

Davies’ start/finish: 7th/11th

            

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 13, 2019) – The first lap of Tuesday’s eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series event on the road course at Sonoma treated JRM’s two-car team of Michael Conti and Brad Davies very differently.

For Conti, it was a solid performance on the first circuit of the 2.53-mile course—which utilized the Carousel section of the track rather than the traditional short-course layout used in the past. Conti started third and hung on through the chaotic slam into the first four corners, taking second place at the top of the hill. For Davies, rolling from seventh at the start, that trip to Turn 4 was not nearly as fruitful.

Davies got caught in a scrum coming up the hill in Turn 2, checking up to avoid Garrett Lowe’s spinning car. When he got on the brakes, the car behind shoved him into Lowe and off the track with some damage to the rear end bodywork. By the time Davies got all four tires back on solid ground, he’d dropped 20 positions to 27th, and that would define the rest of his race.

Conti, meanwhile, stared at the rear of polesitter and race-long leader Bobby Zalenski for all 55 laps of the event, closing up on occasion but not able to press any advantage. On lap 18, both drivers came to pit road for the first stop and Zalenski held serve. Conti came off pit road behind Keegan Leahy, who had pitted the lap before. Two laps later, Conti got a run inside coming off the last corner of the new section to get back to second place, but was still better than six seconds behind Zalenski.

In the meantime, Davies was flying back through the field. After re-entering the race in 27th spot, Davies gained 10 positions in the laps before pit stops began and was 17th when they happened. He was 15th after pit stops and just kept coming, but time was against him.

While Conti was tracking the leader, Davies was forced to use strategy to advance. Locked in a tight chase of Phil Diaz at the halfway point, Davies was able to jump a spot to 14th on lap 28 and was 13th four laps later with a bold outside move in Turn 1, but moving farther up in the field was a challenge. With 21 laps remaining, crew chief John Prather called Davies to pit road, short-pitting for the run to the checkered. Davies, still carrying damage from the first-lap melee in Turn 2, was able to use the undercut to advance up to eighth while pit stops were under way. A tight battle with Corey Vincent and Blake Reynolds in the closing laps saw Davies finish the race in 11th spot.

Conti, some eight seconds behind Zalenski, came down pit road on lap 36 for the run to the finish. Zalenski came down a lap later and cleared the closing JRM driver by a little more than three seconds on the overcut.

Zalenski held the top spot the rest of the way to win over Conti, with Nick Ottinger, Keegan Leahy and Logan Clampitt.

With his runner-up result, Conti climbed a spot to fifth in the point standings and Davies remained in 10th.

Next up for the JRM team is the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway on June 26.

Michael Conti, driver No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

"I'm extremely proud of everyone who touched this No. 8 FilterTime car. We put a ton of work into this race and knew that this would be one of our best shots to win all year. Bobby was just too strong tonight - we could match his pace on some laps, but he had a tenth or two in the bag most of the time. After I got around Keegan and didn't close on Bobby, I knew that my mission tonight was going to be to keep the car on the track and just make consistent lap times. We did just that and brought home a much-deserved second-place finish. After a string of bad luck and crashes, which were not of our doing, we needed a good, solid night. We finally put a whole race together, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. With only five races to go until the Playoffs start, we need to be points racing. The 11-point cushion we currently have is not safe whatsoever. With that being said, we go to Chicagoland next; Chicago is statistically one of my better tracks, so we'll look to carry the momentum we gained tonight and continue a successful run to the start of the eNPAiS Playoffs."

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Coming into this race my main focus was to simply keep all four tires on the track but apparently the first lap had a different plan for us. After getting back on track, we settled in and had a fantastic drive towards the front.  In fact, I’d wager to say that we passed more cars out there than anyone else in the field tonight. Says a lot about the handling of the No. 88 Win Dale Jr.’s Ride Chevrolet Camaro. I’m a bit disappointed we couldn’t get back into the top 10 by the end of the race but still very pleased with 11th when you take into consideration the events that transpired on lap 1. We made a lot of passes tonight and I had a blast out there driving. It was a solid night in the points and we remain in 10th, just 12 out of a playoff berth. Chicago is next and that track has historically been great for multi-groove racing so look for a lot of side-by-side action when we go there in two weeks.”

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XFINITY Series Standings

After Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200

ISM Raceway | 11/9/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Justin Allgaier (P)40000
2Christopher Bell (P)40000
3Tyler Reddick (P)40000
4Cole Custer (P)40000
5Austin Cindric (P)2252-1748
6Chase Briscoe # (P)2252-1748
7John Hunter Nemechek #2212-1788
8Michael Annett (P)2210-1790
9Noah Gragson # (P)2208-1792