By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The eRacr Roval Racing Series started off with a successful bang, featuring a little bit of everything at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway Road Course Combined circuit.
The drama started at the drop of the green flag as Michael Gonzales and eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driver Matt Bussa battled for the lead. Eventually, Matt Danson took the top spot as both Bussa and Gonzales encountered trouble.
In the multi-class racing, drivers of all three classes had to balance battling for position and navigating traffic. The layout of the Texas Roval made the speeds of each class relatively close. Despite 12 vehicles in each class, B Class drivers Matt Taylor and Brian Szabelski, as well as C Class drivers David Grantham and Brandon Paunetto climbed up the overall running order.
Danson, a Logitech G Altus driver, ultimately ran away with the victory. He led a race-high 25 laps. The margin of victory between Danson and Liam Sheen was over six seconds.
Although Danson dominated the race, he had a short amount of time to learn the track. The Australian just made laps and let the track come to him. The tire wear and lap time drop off also aided in his victory in the inaugural eRacr Roval Racing Series event.
“This is the first time I had seen the track,” admitted Danson. “I went to bed at 6:00 a.m. and slept for about two hours. I snoozed that for as long as I could. Felt like I was on another planet. Slowly but surely, I got my head around what was going on and where everything was. It kind of just came to me. The tire wear, the drop off was massive, and that played into the deal.”
Meanwhile, Szabelski ran down Taylor in the closing laps. On the final lap, Szabelski powered by Taylor to take the B Class lead. The duo drag-raced on the back-half of the virtual Texas oval with Szabelski’s virtual No. 85 NihonTiger Chevrolet Camaro SS taking the victory.
For the C Class drivers, Grantham climbed up to finish an impressive 10th overall. The C Class driver started 25th overall in his virtual No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado.
“This is what I love about multi-class racing, we get to celebrate a couple of different winners out here,” explained commentator Blake McCandless. “You had Danson, Brian Szabelski, and of course you have David Grantham who did good jobs of their own. They might have been in slower vehicles but they’re all celebrated here.”
The race may have had good battles throughout the field, but there were some hiccups. Five drivers, all A Class crashed out of the inaugural race. Joshua Chin, Lucas Cram, Cole Woody, Bussa, and Gonzales all failed to finish. The trouble spot on track was turn three, off of the backstretch and into the infield road course. Gonzales had the most spectacular crash, slamming into the tire barrier after forgetting the series was running the road course.
The eRacr Roval Racing Series also had several notables in the field. In the inaugural event, Bussa was the only representative of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. He started second and finished 34th overall.
eRacr commentator, eNASCAR spotter, and Monday Night Racing (MNR) competitor David Schildhouse took to the track. Schildhouse was classified as an A Class driver. He started 10th and finished ninth overall.
Fellow MNR competitor, eNASCAR journalist, and FTF Racing competitor Justin Melillo was also on track. Slotted into the B Class, Melillo started 19th overall and finished 24th.
The eRacr Roval Racing Series is just the latest eRacr event. This is however the first multi-race scheduled series. Other major iRacing events, the Firecracker 400, Carnomaly 500, and Hard to Drive 300 were all associated or promoted by eRacr. The Roval Series will feature six weeks of competition before crowning three different champions.
The next race for the eRacr Roval Racing Series is at the Pocono Raceway Roval on Saturday, July 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Coverage is streamed at eRacr’s Twitch channel.
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