Conti, Davies End eNASCAR Peak iRacing Season with Solid Efforts in Homestead Finale

10/11/2019

Brad Davies FilterTime Homestead iRacing Michael Conti News

JRM drivers Michael Conti and Brad Davies faced an uphill battle in the eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series, season finale, finishing 21st and 32nd, respectively.

Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 140 laps
Conti’s start/finish: 35th/21st    
Davies’ start/finish: 12th/32nd      

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2019) – JR Motorsports drivers Michael Conti and Brad Davies faced an uphill battle in the championship race of the eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series on Thursday night, finishing 21st and 32nd, respectively, in the season finale. Zach Novak ended up the series champion after a thrilling battle with Keegan Leahy over most of the 140-lap event on the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For Conti, who narrowly missed the final four in the penultimate race of the series, the day started badly and got better. For Davies, the day started fairly well and got worse. Conti was on a flyer in qualifying, which could have put him on the pole, but a bobble in Turn 3 put him in the fence instead and he was forced to start from the rear of the field. Dirty air was his downfall, as it and an ill-handling No. 8 FilterTime/#GinaStrong Chevrolet mired him in traffic all the way to the checkered flag. Short-pitting on the first stop took him from the far reaches of the field to mid-pack, but the improvement didn’t last and he wound up 21st at the checkered.

Davies, driving the No. 88 Sock-it To Childhood Cancer Chevrolet, qualified a solid 12th for the race, which kept him out of the majority of the roiled air. Davies entered the race not having locked down the points position he needed to ensure participation in next year’s eNPAiS action, and set up his Chevrolet accordingly. After riding in 15th for the first two green-flag stints, Davies was well within the top 20 in season points and decided to take a big swing at adjustments when a caution flag waved with 50 laps remaining, hoping for a run through the field.

The changes paid off almost immediately, as he advanced five positions in the first 15 laps of green-flag racing, but after that the speed went away and he was no longer advancing. With 20 laps remaining, the rear of the No. 88 Chevrolet got away off Turn 4. The Florida native managed to keep it off the wall, but a competitor made contact with the rear of Davies’ Camaro and did considerable damage. That ended any hope of a top-10 finish and he wound up 32nd at the checkered.

Conti ended the season seventh in series points and Davies was 16th, ensuring both will be eligible for the series in 2020.

Novak, who led 30 laps on the night, ended up winning the winner-take-all finale after a stirring battle with season-long front-runner Leahy, who paced 74 circuits. By dint of his victory, Novak edged Leahy by three markers in the final points.

Jimmy Mullis finished third, with Bobby Zalenski fourth and Ryan Luza rounding out the top five. In the final points, it was Novak, Leahy, Zalenski, Blake Reynolds and Mullis in the top five, with Luza, Conti, Garrett Lowe, Nick Ottinger and Casey Kirwan finishing out the top 10.

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

“First off, congrats to Zack on the championship. As someone who won an eNPAiS title at his age, I can appreciate how much focus he had to have over these last two weeks. His team and he prepared a fast race car, he executed well all night, and most importantly, he didn't beat himself. As for our night, our year of struggles at the intermediates came to a head this evening. We struggled to find a good front end package this week and it really showed in our performance. The mid-portion of the runs killed us, as our car would just plow compared to the rest of the field. I can't remember the last time I legitimately ran outside the top 30 on speed, but tonight, that was definitely the case. Finding the positive in all of this, we had a lot of success this season. Three poles, several top 10s and two runner-up finishes later, we wound up seventh in points. I expect more and won't accept that this year's results are the best we can do as a team, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it either. We took a lot of 12th-15th- place cars and got top 10s this year which is something I'm proud of. Once again, thanks to everyone at JR Motorsports and FilterTime for believing in me this year and giving me a platform on which to build. I hope to be back with the team in 2020 and fight for another title.”

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

“First off, I want to congratulate Zack Novak on his championship tonight.  I know he drove his heart out and had to be nearly perfect to win it and he did just that. He and Keegan put on a spectacular show at the end of the race and I know it was a sight to see from a fan’s perspective. Really proud of those guys for representing our eSport well. For me, I’m thrilled to be able to finish 16th in points against the best of the best and solidify a spot in next years’ PEAK series. I think we can improve, of course. We’ll need to take a hard look at our intermediate setup package because that’s pretty much where we struggled all season. Our short-track, road-course and speedway packages were strong but the intermediates will need some more work, and I think we’re up to the task.  For now, I’ll be looking forward to a little break in the offseason but will be ready to get back to work in 2020. Finally, I’d like to thank JR Motorsports and The Dale Jr. Foundation for all of their support this season.”

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Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/16/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Christopher Bell (P)4032-8
4Justin Allgaier (P)4023-17
5Chase Briscoe #2302-1738
6Austin Cindric2294-1746
7John Hunter Nemechek #2253-1787
8Noah Gragson #2246-1794
9Michael Annett2239-1801