A rookie in the East Coast Racing Series Truck Series, Brandon Finley driver of the #10 Top Madden/Easy Way Out Chevy has struck gold with another top 10 finish at Las Vegas.
This is the first of blogs that will document the race from the perspective of the #10 truck as well as some insight to strategy throughout the race. But first some sponsor insight.
Top Madden is a Madden Connected Franchise league for the Xbox platform. Bringing in some of the top sim community talents, Top Madden is the perfect place to find a competitive environment that mimics what you see in the real gridiron on Sundays. Top Madden sponsors the #10 Chevy with intent to support all gaming communities and leagues as well as to bring viewers to one of the best sim leagues in sports.
Now, back to the race.
Qualifying was all about not getting loose. With just one lap, we had to be fast but 1 and 2 are rough on new tires and we lifted a bit to make sure the car didn’t go sideways and ruin our one lap, we would qualify in 17th.
Lap 1 – Taking the green flag there is a massive checkup as someone in the field didn’t get through the gears fine. The leader, Nick Vann dips below the apron on the front stretch and as he re-enters the track to prepare for the turn he slides too high and collects the #2 of Nick Kaufman spinning them both out, this collects a good chunk of drivers in a massive wreck including myself. The #9 of Ryan Stillwell got collected and shot down the track hitting our front right bumper. We pit and use our fast repair.
*note in iRacing we allow one fast repair where the car will restore all damage to 0. This is once per race, so its sucks to use it so early*
Lap 5 – We Restart in 28th and in similar fashion a massive checkup. The 56 of Mason Wagaman who had some damage from the first wreck was way off the pace causing a bit of a pileup, entering the back stretch someone gets sideways and a big wreck occurs, we make it through.
Lap 8 – The 10 is up to 20th after the caution and we go green. Finally making it through the restart with no wrecks the field starts to get going. Behind the BeardFlo #58 of AJ Fusco we follow him through the field working our way up to 12ths where we pass Fusco and the 11 for 10th on lap 24.
Lap 37 – The 9 of Stillwell with superior tire saving catches and passes for the 10th spot, we ride in P11.
Lap 40 – Right before our pitstop occurs someone spins out and brings out a caution. During the pit the 10 loses seconds by pulling too forward in the pit stall and will restart in the 12th position.
Lap 44 – GREEN GREEN GREEN turn one is clear and we are able to drop low after starting in the outside lane. On the exit of turn 4 the 51 of Chris Downing gets loose and goes around. Multiple cars collide but we make it through with just a tap on our front right bumper as the caution flies.
Lap 49 – We restart in the 5th position, despite the damage we choose to stay out and value track position. The front 4 cars gain some space as we don’t quite have their speed.
Lap 62 – Similar to lap 37, we didn’t do good enough job saving our tires. That combined with our fender damage sees us starting to drop off on our lap times. The 07 of Scott Shroeder catches and passes us for 5th.
Lap 69 – As we continue to lose ground, we enter the final lap in 9th place. On fresher tires the lapped 02 car comes under us forcing us to the outside lane. the 10th and 11th place car gain quick and Brent Allen is able to follow the 02 car on the low line to pass for 9th.
Lap 70 – Trying our best to hold off the charging cars, we shut off the 72 truck and secure a top 10 finish.
Lessons learned: Saving tires. I miscalculated the laps until my tires gave and it cost me in the final stretch dropping from 5th to 10th. No idea how much damage played a role, we felt we had a clean race and are happy with the result.