Davies, Conti Fast in Jam-Packed eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Opener

JR Motorsports | 2/13/2020

Brad Davies Daytona eNASCAR iRacing Michael Conti News TrueTimber WR1 Sim Chassis

Clean and green - until the last lap - was the story Tuesday in the 2020 iRacing season opener on the virtual high banks at Daytona International Speedway.

Track Specs: 2.5-mile oval / 100 laps
Davies’ finish: 12th
Conti’s finish: 24th           

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 13, 2020) – In the first race of the newly branded eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, on the virtual Daytona International Speedway, the JR Motorsports duo of Brad Davies and Michael Conti showed plenty of speed, but pit strategy and three-wide racing in a caution-free event kept them from showing it in Tuesday night’s season opener. (Watch the full race.)

Davies, who qualified 11th, made the most of pitting his No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro early with the rest of the leaders and wound up 12th at the finish for new sponsor TrueTimber® Camo. Conti, who started 21st, was prevented from pitting at the same time by a car to his inside and missed the opportunity, sending his No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Chevrolet Camaro to a 24th-place finish at the checkered flag.

Davies was content to run around the bottom of the 2.5-mile virtual oval at the start of the 100-lap event, staying out of trouble and setting up for the important parts later on. He stayed there until the laps remaining in the pit window sped past. After 30 laps, Davies noticed a handful of the front-runners hitting pit road several laps prior to the estimated pit window (36-38 laps). He asked spotter Derek Wood to keep an eye on their lap times, and it was revealed the group was considerably quicker than the rest of the field.

Davies hit pit road in the middle of the estimated window and despite a quick stop, found himself near the end of the field. Staying near the back to avoid the usual big crash—which never came, by the way—Davies decided to gamble a bit in an effort to gain spots. The Florida native came down pit road with the short-pitting group from the first stop. As the laps clicked away, Davies found himself in the top 10 for the charge to the checkered. The field, undiminished by attrition, spent those final laps running three-wide and eight rows deep, and Davies fluctuated between 11th and 13th for the remaining distance, ending up 12th at the flag.

Conti, starting farther back, found himself three-wide pretty much the entire night. Riding around at the back, waiting for the Big One, Conti bided his time through the first round of stops and planned to stop with Nick Ottinger and Logan Clampitt in an effort to leap up the order. Coming off Turn 4, Conti found the rival car of Malik Ray on his inside, preventing him from peeling off to pit road.

That one-lap delay meant that he would not be able to take the same route forward his teammate had. From there, it was three-wide as far as the eye could see and Conti brought it home in 24th place at the checkered.

Keegan Leahy won the race in a photo finish over Ottinger, with Bobby Zalenski, Clampitt and Christian Challiner rounding out the top five. John Gorlinsky was sixth, followed by Ray Alfalla, Ashton Crowder, Brandon Hayse Kettelle and Ryan Michael Luza.

Next up for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series is a race at the virtual Auto Club Speedway on Tuesday, Feb. 25, streaming at 9 p.m. ET on eNASCAR.com and twitch.tv/iracing.

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 TrueTimber® Camo JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“We had a decent start to the year tonight. Our No. 1 goal tonight was to stay out of trouble. We accomplished that. Next was to bring home a top-10 finish, and we narrowly missed with that with a 12th-place finish. Credit has to be given to Derek (spotter Derek Wood) for helping with changing our strategy in the middle of the race. That call is what gave us the opportunity to get back up towards the top 10. The problem is, when you’re three wide for eight rows deep, there just isn’t anything you can do. There’s nowhere to go. I also have to give a lot of credit to the drivers out there tonight because we went caution-free. Finally, a big thanks to JR Motorsports for bringing us back this year and of course to TrueTimber for climbing on board. Despite not grabbing a top-10, I’m still very happy with our result tonight, all things considered, and I am really looking forward to Fontana in a couple of weeks.”

Michael Conti, driver No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

"After seeing some of the cars on-track Tuesday evening, it was apparent that we did not have the cars quite as trimmed out as the guys who were fast in single-car runs. However, even though we finished 24th, I can honestly say that our No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Chevrolet was just as fast as anyone else out there. We fought track position and could never get ahead of the game on that front. When all 40 cars are in the lead pack, running three abreast, 12 rows deep, there really isn't much you can do if you're not at the front of the pack. You would've thought we'd wreck at some point, but kudos to everyone-- we made it work. Daytona is always a crap shoot, and I knew that going in. If we would've gotten a top-10 or better tonight, that would've been awesome, but we can certainly make up points from here on out. We've got a long way to go until the playoffs start, so as long as we can find some consistency, we'll be OK."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 23 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 30 01:00 PM ET
    Mid-Ohio 170Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • June 6 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 13 08:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 20 04:00 PM ET
    Chicagoland 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After LS Tractor 200

Phoenix Raceway | 3/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Harrison Burton #1760
2Chase Briscoe173-3
3Austin Cindric155-21
4Brandon Jones148-28
5Ross Chastain146-30
6Noah Gragson143-33
7Ryan Sieg143-33
8Justin Haley140-36
9Justin Allgaier138-38
10Michael Annett119-57