By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The Midwest Sim Racing Association (MSRA) Premier Series’ trip to the virtual Talladega Superspeedway saw Boyd Hoggan control the draft train.
The winningest driver of the 2021 MSRA season powered to the lead shortly after the start of Stage 2. Hoggan controlled the tempo of the race throughout the rest of the Stage. When the final Stage started, the virtual No. 96 Bobby Dale Earnhardt Legacy eSports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE once again took control.
Hoggan led until a round of green flag pit stops started with 36 laps to go. While several attempted to run the entire final Stage without stopping, the Canadian led a group of 14 cars that did pit around the track. The group caught those attempting to pull off a 40-lap run without stopping with 20 laps to go. The dramatic speed difference swept Hoggan back into the lead.
Stage 1 winner Ralph Hutchison found himself running second, between the Reaper Speedlab cars of Hoggan and Braxton DeWeese. Although DeWeese’s loyalty laid with Hoggan, Hutchison still made the move on the final lap. His virtual No. 51 LockDown Racing Ford Mustang slipped from second to third when the checkered flag waved.
Hoggan took the checkered flag with 0.139 seconds to spare over DeWeese and Hutchison. Steven Davis and Joseph McWhorter completed the top-five finishers.
“You’re usually faced with two decisions whenever you go into ‘Dega and its you could sit in the back, ride, and get wrecked with five to go, or you could sit in the front, ride, and get wrecked with five to go,” explained Hoggan. “Luckily we didn’t get wrecked. I have shout out everyone on Legacy (eSports). They spent three weeks building this thing and it is one bad… [speed demon].
“(Sweeping the round) is the plan going in (to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval). Our road program, as far as setups, we were just off at the start of the year. Last year we won the Roval. I think we’ll have a good piece to bring next week. I’d like to think we can go in there and sweep.”
Jacob Shorba, TJ Crampton, Brandon Davis, Vincent Arthur, and Zach York rounded out the top-10. Polesitter and playoff driver Logan Helton took the checkered flag in 14th.
Other playoff drivers included John Theodore, 12th, Ryan Strunk 13th, and Klayton Hoffman 17th. Playoff driver Chris Civera did not participate in the RAM Welding and Fabrication 300 at the virtual 2.66-mile track.
John Mullins was the worst of the playoff drivers and the first out of the race. On lap 17 Mullins’ virtual No. 64 Bull Ring Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was slammed by Arthur’s virtual No. 24 Great Lakes Chevrolet. Arthur got out of shape after a bump from Helton’s No. 63 Nexxus eSports Chevrolet. Mullins then clipped another competitor while trying to avoid the grass. He parked his battered Chevrolet a few laps later.
Hutchison locked himself into the Round of Eight after leaving Talladega with a 71-point advantage over the playoff cutoff. Arthur can lock himself into the next round as long as he scores 12-points between the two stages at the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Helton and McWhorter both are relatively safe with a 32 and 27-point cushion respectively. Shorba is 16-points above the cutline with Steven Davis and Theodore under 10-points above the cutoff. Hoffman is three points behind Theodore with Strunk five behind. Civera is 17-points back with Mullins 19 behind.
1 96-Boyd Hoggan , 2. 15-Braxton DeWeese , 3. 51-Ralph Hutchison , 4. 92-Steven Davis , 5. 32-Joseph McWhorter , 6. 30-Jacob Shorba , 7. 61-TJ Crampton , 8. 91- Brandon Davis , 9. 24-Vincent Arthur , 10. 49-Zach York , 11. 38-Jon Binder , 12. 27-John Theodore , 13. 77-Ryan Strunk , 14. 63-Logan Helton , 15. 81-Glen Ballard , 16. 89-Shawn Gerou , 17. 12-Klayton Hoffman , 18. 45-Julio Villalobos Jr , 19. 33-Scott Naslund , 20. 44-Derek Whitford , 21. 20-Ben Myatt , 22. 10-Tommy Gossett , 23. 94-Wyatt Mickelsen , 24. 64-John Mullins .
Lead Changes: 12 among 10 drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Logan Helton (Pole) 0, Ralph Hutchison 1-31, Tommy Gossett 32-33, Joseph McWhorter 34-38, Boyd Hoggan 39-61, Ralph Hutchison 62-64, Boyd Hoggan 65-76, Derek Whitford 77, Julio Villalobos Jr 78-79, John Theodore 80, Ryan Strunk 81, Klayton Hoffman 82-92, Boyd Hoggan 93-112.
Laps Led: Boyd Hoggan 55, Ralph Hutchison 34, Klayton Hoffman 11, Tommy Gossett 2, Joseph Villalobos Jr 2, Joseph McWhorter 5, Ryan Strunk 1, John Theodore 1, Derek Whitford 1.
Hard Charger(s): 15-Braxton DeWeese (+19).
Caution Flags: Four for 12 Laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.139 seconds.
Time of Race: One hour, 48 minutes, 31.967 seconds.
Average Speed: 164.699 MPH.
Pole Winner: 63-Logan Helton, 50.000 seconds, (191.520 MPH).
Fastest Lap: 24-Vincent Arthur, Lap 97, 47.735 seconds (200.608 MPH).
Stage 1: 51, 44, 27, 92, 45, 96, 12, 15, 32, 63.
Stage 2: 96, 15, 32, 51, 61, 30, 77, 92, 44, 24.
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