Conti’s Title Hopes End in eNASCAR Peak iRacing Playoff Race on the Roval

JR Motorsports | 9/26/2019

Brad Davies Charlotte eNASCAR FilterTime iRacing Michael Conti News The Dale Jr. Foundation

Despite finishing second, Michael Conti's championship hopes were dashed Tuesday night in iRacing action on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Track Specs: 2.28-mile road course / 65 laps
Conti’s start/finish: 2nd/2nd  
Davies’ start/finish: 11th/12th     

            

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 26, 2019) – JR Motorsports driver Michael Conti fell just eight points short of the Championship 4 on Tuesday night at the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval despite starting and finishing second in the 65-lap eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series event. It was the cutoff race for the winner-take-all season finale, set for Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 8.

JRM teammate Brad Davies ran a smart, heady race to earn a 12th-place finish in the event, and solidified his point standing to ensure qualification for next year’s eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series field.

Needing to overcome a 17-point deficit to make the Championship 4, Conti qualified his No. 8 FilterTime/#GinaStrong Chevrolet in second place for the 65-lap event, one spot behind Bobby Zalenski. Both noted road-course drivers who were battling for playoff advancement would duke it out for the opportunity to make it to the Championship 4 from the front of the field. When the green flag waved to start the event, Zalenski zipped away to a lead that varied between four and eight seconds, leaving Conti to chase after. That short-run speed from Zalenski kept Conti from mounting a direct challenge even through the pit stops, and Conti soldiered to a runner-up finish which left him eight points adrift of the final four drivers who will contest the championship in two weeks.

Davies, who fell just short of the playoff field, started 11th in his No. 88 Sock It To Childhood Cancer Chevrolet and took it easy in the early stages to let the field get spread out. The Florida driver joined the top 10 after 10-15 laps and rode in the back half until the first pit stops. Planning to be among the first to hit pit road, Davies was among a group of cars that all pitted at the same time, which destroyed his hopes of an undercut. Holding on to 10th, Davies rode there until the second and final round of pit stops.

Staying out a few laps after the others in front of him had pitted, Davies was banking on being able to have more tires left for the end, but several cars behind him opted to short-pit and emerged ahead of him. That gave him fresher tires for the run to the finish, but at the cost of track position. In moving through the field, Davies got stuck behind the slower car of Jarl Teien, who was holding up four or five more cars. Getting alongside under braking into the final chicane, Davies was pinned to the outside wall by a defending Teien. Regrouping, Davies caught back up and moved the No. 66 machine out of the groove to gain 12th place, and he finished the race in that position.

Zalenski won the race, leading all 65 laps, with Conti running second behind him the entire race. Nick Ottinger was third, followed by Logan Clampitt and Keegan Leahy. The four drivers who will race for the title at Homestead are Leahy, Zack Novak, Blake Reynolds and Garrett Lowe, who topped Conti by eight points. Davies is 15th in points, just five points out of the top 12 with one race remaining.

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

“Tonight's result is bittersweet. On one hand, we have so much to be proud of this season. We were easily the second-best car tonight and at times, we had the pace to match Bobby (Zalenski). On the other hand, it sucks that we lost out on a Final 4 spot by one position tonight. We basically did everything we had to do to make it into the championship race at Homestead, but unfortunately, Bobby one-upped us in every category. Honestly though, I'm proud to have run second to him. Being able to say I matched his pace at times and kept the pressure on him is something not a lot of people can say, so I can definitely hang my hat on that. Clearly, we've had an up-and-down season, but to be this close to a Final 4 spot is a testament to how gritty this whole JR Motorsports/FilterTime crew was this year. We had so much not go our way this year, but we never gave up and always sought to overcome and achieve success. While success was sparse at times, we had glimpses of hope on many occasions this year. We have one more shot to win and we'll continue to operate as normal heading into Homestead in two weeks' time. Being able to win the final race of the year, which just so happens will be broadcast live on NBCSN, would be the ultimate way to cap off a crazy season.” 

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 Sock It to Childhood Cancer JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

"Really happy with tonight's performance. The No. 88 Sock-it to Childhood Cancer Chevy was incredible. We only struggled just a little bit in one or two of the higher speed corners but we were really very good under heavy braking as well as having really good drive up off. We were out-braking everyone tonight and had a very good shot at a top 10 and probably should have had one had we come in just a couple of laps sooner on the second round of stops. Not sure what Jarl was doing out there but getting caught up in his desperate attempt to keep five other faster cars behind him kind of set us back a little bit but we didn't let that get to us. We found a way around him and it actually wound up being a very good points night and puts us in a really solid position to go into the final race at Homestead with a decent cushion on 20th place in points.  We're sitting 15th right now but the top 20 is really all the matters right now as that will clinch our spot into the 2020 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • October 3 04:30 PM ET
    Talladega 300*Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 10 03:30 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250*Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 17 07:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300*Kansas Speedway
  • October 24 04:30 PM ET
    O'Reilly Auto Parts 300*Texas Motor Speedway
  • October 31 03:30 PM ET
    NXS at Martinsville*Martinsville Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Las Vegas 300*

Las Vegas Motor Speedway | 9/26/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Chase Briscoe (P)21100
2Austin Cindric (P)2093-17
3Noah Gragson (P)2076-34
4Justin Allgaier (P)2068-42
5Justin Haley (P)2054-56
6Brandon Jones (P)2053-57
7Ryan Sieg (P)2049-61
8Harrison Burton # (P)2042-68
10Michael Annett (P)2032-78