Conti 17th in eNCCiRS Playoff Opener at Bristol; LaPradd 25th

Ron Lemasters | 9/14/2022

Briar LaPradd iRacing Ledford Billiard Supply Maconi Michael Conti News WR1 Sim Chassis

The opening round of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway turned out to be a mixed bag for the two-car JR Motorsports contingent.

Track Specs: .533-mile oval / 175 laps

Conti's finish: 17th    

LaPradd's finish: 18th   

Team Standings: 10th (-158)         

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2022) -- The opening round of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway turned out to be a mixed bag for the two-car JR Motorsports contingent. Playoff contender Michael Conti ran in the top echelon most of the night before finishing 17th, and Briar LaPradd climbed all the way into the top 10 late before tire wear forced him down the order to 18th. (Watch the full race.)

No. 3 playoff seed Conti, driving the No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Chevrolet, nailed his qualifying lap to start a solid fourth and played the tire-saving game over the first long run in the 175-lap event while staying near the front in the top six. At the first caution, Conti took four tires and resumed his strategy, remaining in the top six.

The next caution became the focal point of the race. Conti gambled with two tires for track position and restarted in ninth position, climbing back into the top five as several cautions slowed the pace. On one of the final cautions, Conti made the call to stay out on older tires to preserve his hard-won track position.

It was a move that cost him, as most of the cars farther down in the order elected to come in for new Goodyear tires. Over the final 30-lap run, Conti's tires fell off and he dropped down to 17th in the final standings.

LaPradd, a Tennessee native, qualified his No. 88 Ledford Billiard Supply Camaro in 23rd position for the 175-lap grind. Taking care to keep the fenders clean, the young driver rode in the pack and let the race come to him. Three different on-track incidents took place, and all of them seemed to be right around where LaPradd was running. The last one, late in the race, allowed LaPradd to advance from 20th to seventh with a chance at a solid finish.

Electing not to pit to save that track position, LaPradd stayed out while most of the cars around him hit pit road for the run to the finish. Unfortunately, that allowed cars on newer tires to get past over the remaining laps and he slid back to 18th at the finish.

Conti's run left him four points to the good to advance in the Playoffs, sitting fourth in the standings just 10 points off the lead as the top -our finishers in the race were non-Playoff drivers. LaPradd's 18th-place result leaves him 25th in series points and 41 points below the relegation line for next season with three races remaining in the season.

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will next see action in the second round of the playoffs on Sept. 27 at the virtual Talladega Superspeedway. JRM's two-car team sits 10th in the team standings, 158 points out of the lead.

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

"Pretty bummed by the result tonight, but happy to leave Bristol with a clean car and a top-four spot in the points. Our goal tonight was to get out of here above the cutoff spot and we accomplished that. I believe our No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Camaro was capable of winning under the right circumstances, but we guessed wrong on the tire strategy and were sitting ducks because of it. Talladega is next up, but I plan on putting a lot of focus on preparing our Homestead car. Whether we just need points or are in a must-win situation, we need to be as prepared as possible."

Briar LaPradd, driver No. 88 Ledford Billiard Supply/Maconi Setup Shop JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

"We had good pace once the race started and just stayed in our lane for the early going. Man, those accidents all seemed to take place right in front of me, but we managed to miss all of them. Getting the track position late in the race was key, but staying out kind of gave that away. I'm disappointed with the result for our Ledford Billiard Supply team because we lost points to the top 20, and we have more points to make up there. I am going to put a lot of effort put into these next three races to get our best results of the year and get back above the cut line for next season."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • October 1 04:00 PM ET
    Sparks 300Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 8 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 15 03:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 22 04:30 PM ET
    Contender Boats 250Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • October 29 03:00 PM ET
    Dead On Tools 250Martinsville Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Andy’s Frozen Custard 300

Texas Motor Speedway | 9/24/2022
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Noah Gragson (P)21070
2AJ Allmendinger (P)2081-26
3Ty Gibbs (P)2080-27
4Austin Hill # (P)2064-43
5Josh Berry (P)2058-49
6Justin Allgaier (P)2054-53
7Sam Mayer (P)2035-72