iRacing: Travis Wall Makes It Two For NASTRACK At Charlotte
Round three of five in the NASTRACK -vs- More Sim Racing Challenge wrapped up this past Monday just after the mayhem that was the Daytona 500 qualifier. Needed to supply your racing fix with more but didn’t know where to go? Your always guaranteed to find some interesting door to door action on the very popular iRacing server. Don’t have the program, don’t worry! The folks over at Checkered Flag Interactive have you covered from flag to flag! Along with past races in their archives follow the LINK HERE to check out some of the replays from this series amongst other races they broadcast.
As teams unloaded in the heart of NASCAR and took to the high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway for practice, it was clear we were going to have a barn burner on our hands. Keith Maiato captured his second pole of the series Monday night coming off the victory the week before in California. Keith posted the fastest time in qualifying with a 29.232 (184.73 MPH) second lap time. Other familiar faces were among the top of the charts as well; Travis Wall, Steven Burnett, and Chris Simard all posting times within eight thousandths of a second of each other.
Twenty-six B-Class cars hit the grid for the CreekFire.com 120. 80 laps under the lights with only 50% of fuel in the cars to again ensure the need for teams to make pit stops. Once the green flag was displayed to the field the leaders waisted no time turning the heat up! The top four drivers spent the first eight laps door to door while the rest of the field tried to settle in single and click off some fast times.
Just as I said that however, the #01 of Richardson gets loose coming off turn four and clips the #62 of Clifton Savage sending them both for a ride through the grass in the dog leg bringing out the nights first of five cautions! All but the top five cars took the long slow 50 mph trip down pit road for four fresh tires and to get off sink with the leaders in hopes of pit strategy playing in their favor. Travis Wall leading the field back to the relatively short green flag run before the field was placed back under yellow flag conditions. Jeremy Jordan, driver of the Hendrickcars.com #48 made contact with the #12 machine of Bruce Boyer due to a technical glitch with the server or main machine.
It was caution after caution at Charlotte Motor Speedway as driver all over were running into issues including yours truly! Having one of the best runs of the series our #2 Alpine Star/TheWeeklyRacer.com Impala had made its way into the top five before running into. As we dove hard into turn one on a restart the #17 machine looked to get a bit loose and touched wheels as he tired to gather it back up. The contact shot the car hard left and left just enough damage on the machine to take away some of the cornering speed. The caution would wave yet again allowing Travis Wall to hit pit road handing the lead over the Steven Burnett for the restart.
The field would get slowed up again on lap 36 for the fifth and final caution on the evening with Laurie Melson & Ken Richardson, along with Larry Thatcher getting together off turn four. It was a little difficult from our vantage point to see what really caused everything to start, if I were to gamble I would say it was a loose car meets the Charlotte dog leg. Not sure if it was league officials coming over the radio talking to the drivers or the drivers realizing they have to first finish the race to finish first because the race would go green from there on out.
Steven Burnett would lead the field to the green flag and the halfway mark of the race all while separating himself from the top five. The closest battle on the speedway was from the hard charging machine of Travis Wall and pole sitter Keith Maiato. We would eventually get back to the side by side racing from second back to fourth, Maiato taking P2 from Marcotte with Wall and Simard right there fighting for the spot.
Maiato took the lead on lap 50 with Travis Wall hot in his tracks while Burnett hit pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop. Did not take long for Wall to take a look at the lead, diving his nose under the #7 car on lap 53 going into one but not able to make the pass down the back stretch. He would tuck back behind Maiato and ride it out before taking the lead back once Maiato took his machine down pit road for service.
With green flag stops in full swing from the front to the back it we would see a couple changes for the lead as the field worked its way through the cycle. Walt Walker and Bruce Boyer creating some great racing for the lead with just 20 laps left in the Creekfire.com 120. Though Walker running up front and leading a few laps, he would have to bring his #10 Limo Guy Camaro down pit road for one final stop handing the lead back over to Travis Wall with only 13 laps on the board.
After the green flag stops cycled through there was just not enough time, running just over two seconds behind, for Maiato to catch the bumper of Wall who would take the checkered flag for his first win of the series. Though the victory was a first for Travis it was the second for the NASTRACK; taking six of the top ten positions on the evening for a total of 29 points. Keith Maiato, coming across the line P2, was the highest finishing More Racing driver collecting nine points for his league (26 total points earned for More Racing). With the 6-4 split NASTRACK would take the points win for round three in their attempt to close the gap on the season total points.
After we climbed out of our car finishing P15 after another botched green flag stop, we caught up with Travis in victory lane to hear his thoughts on the race.
“Yea we had a little bit of a rocky start there,” Wall said in victory lane. “Once we got settled out it ended up being a great run!”
With NASTRACK getting their second win of the series they still find themselves 17 points behind the More Racing League with just two races left. Travis was asked what needed to be done going forward especially with Daytona being the final race in the challenge.
“That’s gonna be the big one,” Travis said looking forward to Daytona. “I think we are going to need to lead because they [More] keeps getting their cars in the top 5 and top 10. Even though we can get a few of them up there we just haven’t been able to have as solid finishes as them. I think the super speedway is really going to separate things and give a majority to the top ten, and thats really gotta be us.”
Sporting a new Die Hard paint scheme on the night Travis was also asked what he could do to help his team mates in the final two races.
“Well Charlotte is a special place so I figured we would bring on a special scheme,” Wall told CFI in regard to his primary sponsor Piggly Wiggly. “They will be back on the hood next week we are just sharing the lime light. As far as the final two races, just comes down to practice. Practice on Sunday and Monday nights helping our drivers get quicker on the race track.”