Conti Perseveres in eNASCAR Peak iRacing Action at Darlington; Davies Gets Turned

JR Motorsports | 8/29/2019

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

Michael Conti rallied to finish 11th while Brad Davies was in the wrong place at the wrong time Tuesday in iRacing action at Darlington.

Track Specs: 1.366-mile oval / 183 laps

Conti’s start/finish: 1st/11th 

Davies’ start/finish: 21st/30th   

            

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2019) – The opening round of the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series Playoffs at the virtual Darlington (S.C.) Raceway started off well for JR Motorsports’ two-car duo of Michael Conti and Brad Davies. Conti, driving the No. 8 FilterTime/#GinaStrong Chevrolet, started the race from the pole position, but at the end of a long night at the “Track Too Tough to Tame,” Conti was 11th and Davies mired in 30th place after an accident removed his No. 88 Win Dale Jr.’s Ride Camaro from contention.

Despite finishing outside the top 10, the 11th-place run actually advanced Conti in the playoff order from sixth at the start to third at the end, thanks to disappointing efforts from some of his playoff competitors. Conti enters the race at Indianapolis in two weeks with a five-point edge over the cut line to advance to the Championship 4.

Conti chose to craft his qualifying setup for the playoff opener from some older philosophies and that translated into winning the pole for the 183-lap event on the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. While the speed was good for the one-lap qualifying run, it didn’t stay solid over a longer distance, and that put him at a disadvantage. Losing the top spot by the end of the first lap, Conti nonetheless rode in the top five until the second caution flag of the race caught him out. Conti had pitted under green and returned to the track just in time for the second caution flag of the night to wave, which put him around 15th in the running order.

Passing was difficult, and front-end damage picked up in the aftermath of a Cody Byus crash didn’t help matters for the young New Jersey native. He fell back to 30th at one point before a series of crashes and lucky breaks—fueled by aggressive moves--moved him to the doorstep of the top 10 before the checkered flag finally waved.

Several of his playoff competitors—Ryan Luza, Garrett Lowe, Bobby Zalenski, Jimmy Mullis and Blake Reynolds--suffered mischiefs during the night as well, so the 11th-place run actually lifted Conti’s playoff hopes, moving him from sixth in the standings to third. In addition to the next race at Indianapolis, the Charlotte Roval looms as the cutoff race for the Championship 4 two weeks later.

Davies had high hopes for his No. 88 Win Dale Jr.’s Ride Chevrolet in qualifying, but despite being a tenth of a second off the pole, he lined up 21st for the race. That put him behind at the start, and he rode in 20th much of the first stint before hitting pit road in an effort to improve track position. Back on track with fresh tires and full of fuel, he and Logan Clampitt were battling for position when the pair encountered a much slower car ahead of them. In scrambling to get past, contact was made between Davies and Clampitt and Davies went around. While spinning, another car drilled Davies in the left front, damaging the car. That ended Davies’ chances of competing for the top 10 and he eventually finished 30th. The finish dropped him a spot to 14th in the point standings with three races remaining in the season.

Ashton Crowder won the event, with playoff driver Zack Novak second, Benjamin W. Nelson third, playoff driver Keegan Leahy fourth and Jake Nichols rounding out the top five.

The second race of the playoffs is set for Sept. 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Michael Conti, driver No. 8 FilterTime/#GinaStrong JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“That was the most eventful Darlington race I've ever been a part of. After being in this series for eight seasons, I thought I'd seen it all, but tonight proved otherwise. Our qualifying run was exceptional which put us in a good position for the early stages of the race. Bad breaks and untimely cautions hindered our performance this evening, but being able to come away 11th after being way down the running order and moderately damaged is A-OK to me. The level of aggression tonight was extremely high--the highest I've ever seen it in this series at Darlington. The low horsepower really put all of us in a box tonight, as the bottom lane wasn't viable which made passing crazy hard. You sometimes wish guys would practice a little patience and exercise some discretion, but ultimately in the end, the over-aggression I saw out my windshield is what enabled me to get back to 11th. Sitting third in points going into Indy, we're in a decent spot. We still have to make gains and find more speed, but with a full two weeks of practice, I have all of the confidence in the world that we can get the No. 8 FilterTime/#GinaStrong Chevy to the front!”

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 Win Dale Jr.’s Ride JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Another disappointing night for the No. 88. We didn’t have terrible speed before the damage, we just didn’t have anything spectacular and it quickly became apparent that it would be impossible to pass throughout the entirety of the race. Starting 21st did us no favors and with the dirty air, we pretty much just rode around in 20th until we got wrecked. We didn’t have the full two weeks to prepare for Darlington but again, that’s no excuse since there were a handful of cars out there that could make passes and more forward. They’ve found a little something and it shows. I’ll just be glad to get back to work on Indianapolis in two weeks as that should require a different type of setup under the car so we’ll be working hard to try to hit on something there.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 28 03:30 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 5 03:00 PM ET
    Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200Dover International Speedway
  • October 19 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway
  • November 2 08:30 PM ET
    O'Reilly Auto Parts 300Texas Motor Speedway
  • November 9 03:30 PM ET
    Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200ISM Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Go Bowling 250

Richmond Raceway | 9/20/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Christopher Bell (P)21150
2Cole Custer (P)2093-22
3Tyler Reddick (P)2071-44
4Austin Cindric (P)2067-48
5Justin Allgaier (P)2054-61
6Michael Annett (P)2051-64
7Chase Briscoe # (P)2050-65
8Noah Gragson # (P)2048-67