NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series (NPAS)
With it being an off week for NPAS, I decided to interview Alex Bergeron and ask him a few questions.
What were your feelings of making it into the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Season on your first attempt?
AB: Being in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze series on the first attempt is something quite special but at the same time it was my goal! It would have been less stressful point-wise if we wouldn’t have been involved in wrecks but luck and bad luck are part of racing.
How tough is the competition in NPAS? How are you getting on with it?
AB: The competition is very good, No inches are left in a race and I like it!
What are your goals for the rest of the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Season?
AB: My goals for the rest of the season is first to finish my races and then finish either top 10 or top 20. Also I want to place myself in the top 30 in points so I can be locked in for next season.
How are you adapting to the new 2017 rules package that was brought to iRacing recently?
AB: I’m adapting quite quickly to the new rules package but it’s a whole new way to drive the car.
You just turned 17 years old. Get any good presents?
AB: Definitely my driving license and especially on my birthday!
This week Tuesday night, NPAS is at Texas Motor Speedway where the team hopes to have a top 20 in the race.
NASCAR iRacing Series (NIS)
The team was doing double the work this week in what was a very interesting (and partly stressful) week for setups. Texas Motor Speedway, with its abrasive and bumpy surface, provides a challenge unlike any other.
On Wednesday 9pm EDT/Thursday 2am BST, the first race slot of the week had a total of nine splits of 33 drivers each. In the third split, Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Doug George finished third in the #1 car after starting back in twelfth, whilst Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Thomas Keene started 9th and finished 9th – however he also led the most laps at 98 total plus fastest lap. In the fourth split, Apex DDP (NASCAR) members Scotty Rienschield finished third and seventh respectively. Meanwhile in the sixth split, Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Jay Crabill won the race after starting 8th and leading 31 laps! Over in the penultimate split, it was Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Steven Parks who won the race after leading a total of 88 laps! Congratulations to both Jay Crabill and Steven Parks.
Thursday evening brought an update to iRacing which included a fix for a known issue where the car pulled to the right under braking. This however broke the setups and with only a couple of hours to the race, the team went to extreme testing to fix the setups. Apex Racing’s NASCAR manager Matthew Dalton managed to put together something which seemed quick enough in the team testing session.
That Thursday 3pm EDT/8pm BST race slot therefore was a quiet one, even by ‘Euro timeslot’ standards, resulting in just three splits. As the team went into what was more or less unknown territory, the top split had eight Apex Racing members. At the front, Apex Racing UK full team drivers Nigel de Jong and Matthew Dalton both showed amazing pace where both were positioned to finish second and third at least. However the racing was scruffy and without the elusive long run (which the car was built for), they finished third and fifth. The other top ten results in the split were: Apex Racing UK full team driver Sahil Mustac (myself) finished eighth after not qualifying and starting at the very back; Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Tyler Armstrong recovered to sixth after taking damage in a wreck which took out three other Apex DDP (NASCAR) members in the race. The second split saw Apex Academy driver Mark Murphy finish up in second place. Right behind him, Apex DDP (NASCAR) members Matthew P Coleman, Austen Giacabone and Adam Meir finished 3rd, 4th and 7th. Apex Academy driver Stuart Pomfrey also finished in a well-placed fifth.
On Friday 9pm EDT/Saturday 2am BST, the race split nine times. In the second split, Apex DDP (NASCAR) members Tyler Armstrong, CJ LaVair (started last) and Luis Salmaso finished in 3rd, 4th and 10th respectively in a strong showing against a fairly stacked grid. Over in the fourth split, Apex DDP (NASCAR) drive Blake Neese started fifth, but quickly took the lead 9 laps into the race – from there he held on to dominate the race, leading 158 of 167 laps; behind him, Apex DDP (NASCAR) members Josh Buckman and Vic Greenwood also finished in the top ten, with fourth for Buckman and sixth for Greenwood. The fifth split had Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Austen Giacabone finish fourth, just in front of Apex Academy member Mark Nadeau who finished fifth. Apex Academy member Daniel Manzano started on the pole in split 5, but slipped to 10th by the end of the race. In the ninth split, Apex DDP (NASCAR) member Justin Hirst lead the most laps at 106 on his way to a comfortable win. Congratulations to Blake Neese and Justin Hirst on their wins!
In the final race slot on Sunday 10am EDT/3pm BST there were a total of six splits. In the first split, Apex Racing UK full team drivers Nigel de Jong and Matthew Dalton were yet again flying fast, starting towards the back and making it into the top ten along with de Jong leading the most laps in the race (43); they showed excellent pace once more, but lost out to lack of green flag running. Just like in race two of the week, they finished third and fifth respectively. In the second split, Apex Academy member Miguel Gomes finished in 4th, leading a single lap and starting 15th. The third split had Apex DDP (NASCAR) members Vic Greenwood (finished 3rd) and Andrew Anthony Ward (finished 4th) led some laps each on their way to the chequered. In the fourth split, Alex Sturm from Apex DDP (NASCAR) managed second place (just under two seconds behind leader) after starting on the pole and leading 17 laps; Apex DDP (NASCAR) members Austen Giacabone and Joshua Thornton also finished strong in fourth and fifth.
As seen from the results above, the team had an overall very successful week all across the board – so much so that the results had to be condensed to top ten finishers only, and still there were so many good finishers. Although there were disappointments too, all members must be proud of the brilliant results above as this hints at what is hopefully going to continue for many more racing weeks to come.
Next week is an off week (in correlation with the real life schedule), giving more time for the team to find a few more tenths out of the car. In two weeks time, we’re off to one of the trickiest and toughest tracks to race at: Bristol Motor Speedway.
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