By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
While Boyd Hoggan was busy taking his 17th win of the season, the rest of the Midwest Sim Racing Association (MSRA) Premier Series battled to fill-in the final three spots of the Championship 4.
Hoggan dominated the race in the virtual No. 96 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. He led 188 of the 262 laps at the virtual Martinsville Speedway. Hoggan also swept both Stages of the Canterbury RV 250.
Playoff drivers Klayton Hoffman, Joseph McWhorter, and Jacob Shorba each took a turn controlling the race. Both McWhorter and Shorba had to win to transfer into the Championship 4.
Hoffman took the lead with a two-tire stop under caution with 100 to go. 20 laps later, another caution provided Shorba the opportunity to take the lead. The driver of the virtual No. 30 Great Lakes Motorsports Ford Mustang stayed on track while almost everyone else pitted.
Hoffman recaptured the lead with 72 laps to go as another caution waved. Playoff driver Vincent Arthur was spun off Turn 4. Contact from McWhorter sent the virtual No. 24 Chevrolet spinning. Hoffman’s time in the lead was short-lived as Hoggan took the lead with 50 laps to go in the scheduled distance.
McWhorter’s Championship 4 hopes came to an end when he spun off Turn 2. He nosed his car into the inside wall with 28 laps to go.
Meanwhile Shorba’s Championship 4 drive came alive with 17 laps to go. On a restart he took the lead from David Centini. It appeared that Shorba could run away from Hoggan in the run to the finish. However, a late-race caution pitted Shorba against Hoggan on a restart.
The duo battled side-by-side for just over a lap. Arthur got spun behind the duo. At the same time, Shorba hit the Turn 2 curb trying to keep off Hoggan and spun. The ensuing caution sent the race into overtime with Hoggan in the lead. The Bobby Dale Earnhardt Legacy Esports driver took full advantage of his track position and cruised to victory with 0.354 seconds over McWhorter. Hoffman, Logan Helton, and Centini completed the top-five.
“I just hope we get one more (win at Phoenix),” admitted Hoggan. “That’s really all that I’ve been worrying about most of the post season with the playoff point gap that we had coming it. It was a pretty sure thing even if we didn’t win in even round and clinch our way through. Ultimately, we want Phoenix.
“First of all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for everyone that’s going into (Phoenix) with a shot. It’s been a really good season. That’s why I love racing in this league. It’s usually pretty clean and green. There’s some good competition in here. They’re going to bring their best to Phoenix and if we bring our best we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and get the second (title) in a row.
“This one means a little bit more. Mid-season when I lost my grandma, I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep running it. She was the main person who wanted me to keep doing it. She knew that I liked building the cars more than I liked racing. Got to go win this one for her.”
John Theodore, Brandon Davis, Ralph Hutchison, Shorba, and Steven Davis rounded out the top-10.
Joining Hoggan in the Championship 4 are Arthur, Hoffman, and Hutchison. Combined, the four drivers account for 26 victories in the 35 races this season.
In total the race was slowed 12 times for cautions for a total of 57 laps. That includes the two Stage breaks.
1 96-Boyd Hoggan , 2. 32-Joseph McWhorter , 3. 12-Klayton Hoffman , 4. 63-Logan Helton , 5. 79-David Centini , 6. 27-John Theodore , 7. 91-Brandon Davis , 8. 51-Ralph Hutchison , 9. 30-Jacob Shorba , 10. 92-Steven Davis , 11. 24-Vincent Arthur , 12. 28-Matthew Long , 13. 62-Chris Civera , 14. 64-John Mullins , 15. 77-Ryan Strunk .
Lead Changes: Eight among five drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Boyd Hoggan 1-150, Klayton Hoffman 151-167, Jacob Shorba 168-177, Klayton Hoffman 178-190, Joseph McWhorter 191-200, Boyd Hoggan 201-223, David Centini 224-233, Jacob Shorba 234-247, Boyd Hoggan 248-262.
Laps Led: Boyd Hoggan 188, Klayton Hoffman 30, Jacob Shorba 24, David Centini 10, Joseph McWhorter 10.
Hard Charger(s): 63-Logan Helton (+10).
Caution Flags: 12 for 57 laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.354 seconds.
Time of Race: One hour, 45 minutes, 49.300 seconds.
Average Speed: 78.1382 MPH.
Pole Winner: 96-Boyd Hoggan.
Fastest Lap: 12-Klayton Hoffman, Lap 174, 18.905 seconds
Stage 1: 96, 12, 32, 62, 30, 24, 28, 79, 64, 51.
Stage 2: 96, 32, 12, 24, 62, 30, 79, 28, 51, 91.
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