By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The winningest driver of the Midwest Sim Racing Association (MSRA) Premier Series, Boyd Hoggan, completed a perfect Round of 12 with a win at the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Hoggan first took the lead halfway into the first Stage of the Shorba’s Racing Graphics 125. The virtual No. 96 Bobby Dale Earnhardt Legacy eSports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE made quick work of polesitter Vincent Arthur for the top spot. Hoggan pulled away, winning both of the first two Stages with ease.
It appeared that he would simply walk away with the race in the final Stage until the caution waved with 10 laps to go. During pit stops, Arthur’s virtual No. 24 Great Lakes Motorsports Chevrolet moved back into the top spot. However, Arthur’s time at the top of the leaderboard was short-lived. Hoggan and Logan Helton both slipped by on the restart.
Back in the lead, Hoggan cruised to his 15th victory of the season. Helton was about nine seconds behind with Arthur, Braxton DeWeese, and Joseph McWhorter completing the top-five.
“It was more eventful than what I was expecting,” admitted Hoggan. “It was fun. I was surprised nobody did (stay out on worn tires). We probably had the best car here. I’d rather be aggressive with it than be on defense. As soon as (the caution waved) I knew we would have to pit.
“Restarting second there, I knew it wasn’t too bad. Vincent and Logan were pretty good on pace all night. I was pretty confident I could get back by Vincent.”
David Centini, Evan Longacre, Klayton Hoffman, Chris Civera, and Jacob Shorba rounded out the top-10.
Despite the top-10 finish, Civera was eliminated from the MSRA playoffs. Inside the top-10 finishers, Hoffman, McWhorter, and Shorba advanced. Steven Davis advanced to the Round of Eight despite finishing 12th at the Roval.
The next round of the MSRA playoffs, like the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, sees the league go to Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway.
“I don’t know if we’ll dominate (the next round), there’s a number of good people in this league,” explained Hoggan. “They can show up any given week and be fast. My confidence in the team has probably been higher in the past four or five months than it ever has been. We’ll keep coming out with good cars, hopefully keep everyone on their toes. I’m excited for Kansas and Martinsville. Martinsville is one of the best tracks on iRacing and one of my favorites to turn laps around.”
John Theodore, the lone Toyota entry at the Roval finished 13th. Theodore joined Brandon Davis and Ryan Strunk as those who were eliminated in the Round of 12.
After the reseeding for the Round of Eight, Hoggan has a 99-point lead over the playoff cutoff. If he scored 31-points at Texas, he could mathematically lock himself into the Championship Four.
Arthur has a 31-point cushion over the cutline. Meanwhile Helton is 18-points ahead and Ralph Hutchison, who did not take part in the Roval race, is 16-points ahead.
McWhorter is the first driver on the outside looking in. Shorba is 19-points out. Hoffman and Davis are both over 20-points behind the cutline.
1 96-Boyd Hoggan , 2. 63-Logan Helton , 3. 24-Vincent Arthur , 4. 15-Braxton DeWeese , 5. 32-Joseph McWhorter , 6. 79-David Centini , 7. 95-Evan Longacre , 8. 12-Klayton Hoffman , 9. 62-Chris Civera , 10. 30-Jacob Shorba , 11. 91-Brandon Davis , 12. 92-Steven Davis , 13. 27-John Theodore , 14. 77-Ryan Strunk , 15. 29-James Howard , 16. 49-Zach York .
Lead Changes: Three among two drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Vincent Arthur 1-8, Boyd Hoggan 9-45, Vincent Arthur 46-47, Boyd Hoggan 48-55.
Laps Led: Boyd Hoggan 45, Vincent Arthur 10.
Hard Charger(s): 15-Braxton DeWeese and 95-Evan Longacre (+9).
Caution Flags: Three for Nine Laps.
Margin of Victory: 8.910 seconds.
Time of Race: One hour, 28 minutes, 12.440 seconds.
Average Speed: 85.299 MPH.
Pole Winner: 24-Vincent Arthur, One minute, 19.089 seconds (103.782 MPH).
Fastest Lap: 96-Boyd Hoggan, Lap 36, One minute, 19.020 seconds (103.872 MPH).
Stage 1: 96, 62, 63, 24, 30, 32, 91, 79, 15, 92.
Stage 2: 96, 63, 24, 79, 30, 32, 15, 91, 29, 95.
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