Conti Top 10 at Watkins Glen, Davies 27th in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Battle

Ron Lemasters | 8/5/2021

Axe Brad Davies iRacing Michael Conti News WR1 Sim Chassis

After having his initial qualifying effort disallowed, Conti battled back from a 21st starting position to score a top-10 finish.

Track Specs: 2.45-mile road course / 50 laps
Conti's finish: 9th   
Davies' finish: 27th  
Team Standings: 8th (-149)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 5, 2021) – Michael Conti drove to a solid ninth-place finish in Tuesday's eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event at the virtual Watkins Glen road course, keeping pace with the top runners in the drive toward the playoffs. Teammate Brad Davies battled a balky setup and an early-race off-course excursion to wind up 27th at the checkered flag. (Watch the full race.)

The combined finish also helped the JR Motorsports team gain ground in the team standings, rising to eighth in team points.

Conti, driving the No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Chevrolet, had his first qualifying lap disallowed after clipping the grass in the Bus Stop and had to settle for 21st on the starting grid, which was a lot farther back than was wanted. But the young New Jersey driver made a blistering start to cut down some of the distance to the front-runners.

Diving four-wide into the 90-degree Turn 1 on the initial green saw Conti pass two rivals and he passed three more into the Bus Stop before getting a sixth done in Turn 7 to end the first lap in 14th place. He passed two more cars during the first stint before stalling out in 12th position.

As pit stops loomed, Conti stayed out a couple of laps later than those running around him, hoping that fresher tires would prove a good choice for the run to the checkered in the 50-lap event. It proved to be providential, as Conti gained three positions to ninth on the final lap with eighth-place Vicente Salas in sight as the checkered flag waved. The top-10 finish also served to mathematically lock Conti into the playoffs.

Davies qualified 30th in his No. 88 AXE Chevrolet after entering the event off on raw pace around the quick and tricky course, saying that his setup was short on camber settings. Starting that far back in the field, Davies was in prime position for the early-lap bump-and-grind common to road courses.

After contact through the Esses and a big bump through the Inner Loop in the opening laps which sent him off course and through the runoff area, Davies settled in and began digging out of the pack. Over the next segment of laps, Davies was able to regain the lost positions. With a 30-lap fuel window, the Florida driver also elected to stay out a little longer than the front runners did, figuring on taking less fuel to go with fresher tires. The strategy was a sound one, and Davies was able to climb back to 27th at the finish. That was important, because it gained one spot in the driver points for the veteran campaigner, putting him 26th in the rankings. He trails 20th place by 42 points.

Conti jumped one spot in the driver points to sixth, 30 off the lead.

Graham Bowlin won the race after a thrilling duel with Mitchell deJong over the final lap which saw deJong hit the barrier out of Turn 11 coming to the flag, allowing road-course ace Bobby Zalenski to sneak past for second, with deJong, Steven Wilson and Nick Ottinger the rest of the top five.

The next points race for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will be Aug. 17 at the virtual 2-mile Michigan International Speedway.

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

"Huge rebound for our No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis team tonight! After a dismal qualifying run, I was frustrated beyond belief. As we came to take the green flag, I told my crew chief that I was going to be on a mission to pass the most cars tonight; we did just that. Huge moves on the initial start paired with several others along the way helped us bring home a very respectable finish. Still, we need to do better. We need more out of the cars. I need more out of my driving. As the playoffs loom, the time to button up our weaknesses is now. We'll reflect on tonight and set our sights to Michigan in two weeks' time."

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 AXE JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

"We're a little bit bummed about our performance today. Road courses haven't ever been our specialty by any means but we're usually good enough to compete for top 15s. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case today. But it wasn't from lack of effort, we just missed something on the setup this week. On the bright side, we were able to pass a few cars tonight after our off-road excursion and we did pick up 1 spot in the points to 26th but we still have some work to do if we're going to make a push to get back in the top 20. Thankfully there are no more road courses on the schedule this year and we should show up to Michigan in a couple of weeks with good pace."

 

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 25 07:30 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 2 04:30 PM ET
    Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 9 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 16 03:00 PM ET
    Andy’s Frozen Custard 335Texas Motor Speedway
  • October 23 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway | 9/17/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1AJ Allmendinger10430
2Austin Cindric1033-10
3Justin Allgaier924-119
4Daniel Hemric895-148
5Harrison Burton871-172
6Justin Haley864-179
7Noah Gragson863-180
14Michael Annett524-519
34Sam Mayer #186-857