By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Boyd Hoggan had to survive the attrition and battle back through the field to score his 16th win of the season in Midwest Sim Racing Association (MSRA) Premier Series at Kansas Speedway.
Hoggan started the Operation Motorsport 267 on the outside pole in his virtual No. 96 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. A rash of cautions saw the Bobby Dale Earnhardt Legacy eSports driver bounce up and down the running order. By the end of Stage 1, he had bounced back into second, just behind his teammate, and race polesitter, Christopher Hill.
However, as the cautions continued into Stage 2, Hoggan opted to stay out at the last minute. Upon seeing that everyone else had pitted, the most dominant driver of the MSRA season ducked onto pit road a lap later. Hoggan then had to avoid the carnage as several more wrecks took place ahead of him throughout the closing laps of the Stage. When Stage 2 ended, he was outside of the top-10.
Shortly after the start of the final Stage, the final caution waved. Contact sent Logan Helton spinning down the backstretch, collecting Glen Ballard, Jon Binder, and Steven Davis. Hoggan weaved his way through the carnage and into the top-five.
From the drop of the green flag the race became a duel between Hill and Hoggan. Hill made the first move, pitting with 33 laps to go. Hoggan followed two laps later. Once the pit cycle completed, Hoggan chased down his teammate. Hill changed his line, attempting to keep the No. 96 at bay. However, with three laps to go, Hoggan worked his way to the inside.
When the checkered flag waved, Hoggan was 0.886 seconds ahead of Hill. Klayton Hoffman, Ralph Hutchison, and Matthew Long completed the top-five.
“That’s always the goal (sweeping the season), but it’s a lot easier said than done,” joked Hoggan. “Everything’s just fallen our way. The luck is going to run out eventually.
“There’s nobody I’d rather duel with [than my teammate, Christopher Hill]. I’ve always had an incredible amount of respect for Chris. I feel like not a lot of people in the community know how good he is. The dude is a badass every week in anything we do. He’s always keeping me on my toes. We’re usually going at it for wins. I’m glad we’re finally able to do it on broadcast and put on a shot for everyone on Podium.”
Vincent Arthur, Braxton DeWeese, Chris Civera, Brandon Davis and John Theodore rounded out the top-10. DeWeese ran the fastest lap of the race on lap 75. Jacob Shorba was the only other playoff driver to avoid trouble, finishing 12th.
After his second wreck in the last two races, Helton now sits 24-points below the cutline fifth in points. Joseph McWhorter also found trouble and is 39-points behind. Steve Davis, who was collected in the wreck with Helton sits 43-points back. Despite an incident-free 12th-place finish, Shorba is 45-points back in eighth.
While Helton could still point his way in via Stage wins and a good finish at Martinsville Speedway, Davis, McWhorter, and Shorba all face a must-win at ‘The Paperclip.’
The attrition-filled race saw just 13 of the 25 starters running at the end of the race. Including the two stage breaks, the race was slowed six times for a combined 24 laps.
1 96-Boyd Hoggan , 2. 99-Christopher Hill , 3. 12-Klayton Hoffman , 4. 51-Ralph Hutchison , 5. 28-Matthew Long , 6. 24-Vincent Arthur , 7. 15-Braxton DeWeese , 8. 62-Chris Civera , 9. 91-Brandon Davis , 10. 27-John Theodore , 11. 77-Ryan Strunk , 12. 30-Jacob Shorba , 13. 92-Steven Davis , 14. 95-Evan Longacre , 15. 38-Jon Binder , 16. 63-Logan Helton , 17. Glen Ballard , 18. 32-Joseph McWhorter , 19. 64-John Mullins , 20. 10-Tommy Gossett , 21. 79-David Centini , 22. 58-Don Fish , 23. 94-Wyatt Mickelsen , 24. 49-Zach York , 25. 98-Randall Faulks .
Lead Changes: 18 among six drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Christopher Hill 1, Matthew Long 2, Christopher Hill 3-19, Boyd Hoggan 20-26, Klayton Hoffman 27-29, Ralph Hutchison 30-32, Christopher Hill 33-42, Ralph Hutchison 43-49, Boyd Hoggan 50-70, Klayton Hoffman 71-101, Ralph Hutchison 102-106, Klayton Hoffman 107-108, Braxton DeWeese 109-114, Ralph Hutchison 115-124, Christopher Hill 125-146, Boyd Hoggan 147-148, Matthew Long 149-152, Christopher Hill 153-175, Boyd Hoggan 176-178.
Laps Led: Christopher Hill 73, Klayton Hoffman 36, Boyd Hoggan 33, Ralph Hutchison 25, Braxton DeWeese 6, Matthew Long 5.
Hard Charger(s): 77-Ryan Strunk (+13).
Caution Flags: Six for 24 Laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.886 seconds.
Time of Race: One hour, 52 minutes, 28.650 seconds.
Average Speed: 142.429 MPH.
Pole Winner: 99-Christopher Hill, 29.795 seconds (181.239 MPH).
Fastest Lap: 15-Braxton DeWeese, Lap 75, 30.120 seconds (179.283 MPH).
Stage 1: 99, 96, 51, 12, 32, 24, 62, 28, 91, 63.
Stage 2: 12, 51, 63, 15, 24, 91, 28, 62, 27, 32.
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