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iRacing: Ottinger wins wild, controversial Phoenix

March 07, 2012, Jason Lofing, Special to NASCAR.COM , NASCAR.com



iRacing: Ottinger wins wild, controversial Phoenix

Nick Ottinger came out on top of a wild and controversial Week 2 of the NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship at Phoenix International Raceway, redeeming himself after missing the opening week at Daytona. Ottinger (Claremont, N.C.) qualified on the pole and led 62 laps, but it appeared he would have to settle for second place when Kevin King (Sammamish,Wash.) grabbed the lead on a late pit stop and took control of the race.

On a restart with only eight laps to go, however, King was spun by Richie Davidowitz (Holbrook, N.Y.) and was not permitted to regain his track position. In the end, King got caught up in another crash on the final lap and finished a disappointing 28th. "I felt like I had a chance to win, but it didn't end up that way unfortunately," King said. "We had some nice green runs, and after some adjustments and clear air I felt like the car was really good if we had long runs, but we didn't get many of those."

Meanwhile, Ottinger took advantage of King's misfortune on the final restart and drove off to an unchallenged win. Teammate Tyler D. Hudson (Brandon, Miss.) finished second, Michael Conti (Woodland Park, N.J.) third and 2011 champ Ray Alfalla (Cape Coral, Fla.) fourth with Brad Davies (Wauchula, Fla.) rounding out the top-five finishers. Daytona winner Jeremy Allen (Indianapolis) continued his strong start to the season with a sixth-place finish.

"All I can say is thanks to the guys at GFR! Setup was a blast to drive." Ottinger said after earning his first career NiSWC victory. "We all put a lot of time into getting it nailed down. I was a little too free the longer we went and was able to manage to keep control of it. Just stoked about the outcome."

The online race was quite eventful as a dozen caution flags slowed the field for 49 of the 156 laps, making track position crucial as the short runs did not allow for much passing. Several top contenders got taken out early in the wrecks, including Derek Wood (Lincoln, Neb.), who finds himself in a deep hole in points after starting the year with 43rd and 40th-place finishes.

It is not uncommon for the first short-track race of the season to be a bit crazy as drivers are still getting used to their cars and each other. Alfalla reminded everyone to use a level head. "This happens every year. We always run a short track early in the season that's got everyone saying the series [stinks], then we go 120 laps or something under green somewhere else and it's all fine again," Alfalla said.

Allen remains the championship leader after two races, holding a scant two-point cushion over second place Conti, who backed up his fourth place at Daytona with a solid third at PIR. Similarly, Brian Schoenburg (Moorpark, Calif.) notched another top-10 finish to move up to third in the standings and currently sits 14 points back of the lead. Hudson and series rookie Marcus Lindsey (West Terre Haute, Ind.) sit fourth and fifth, 18 and 20 markers back, respectively.

The race was punctuated by a slew of cautions and incidents, including this spin that ended King's bid for the win. (iRacing.com)

The series moves onto Bristol Motor Speedway for Week 3, and there is sure to be more exciting racing in store on the half-mile bullring. After the rather messy race at PIR, many drivers know that one more bad result can easily put them out of the running for a good points finish, but now is not the time to run conservatively. As any driver knows, when it comes to Thunder Valley, there's no place to hide.

RESULTS

1. Nick Ottinger (47 Points); 2. Tyler D. Hudson (42); 3. Michael Conti (41); 4. Ray Alfalla (40); 5. Brad Davies (39); 6. Jeremy R. Allen (38); 7. Brian Schoenburg (37); 8. Brad Wright (36); 9. Marcus Lindsey (35); 10. Patrick Fogel (34).

11. Brandon Buchberger (33); 12. Carson McClelland (32); 13. Charles Cosper (31); 14. Chris Main (30); 15. Vinnie Sansone (29); 16. Bryan Blackford (28); 17. Byron Daley (27); 18. Jake Stergios (26); 19. Pedro Mojica (25); 20. Josh Berry (24).

21. Cyril Nousbaum (23); 22 Chad Coleman (22); 23. Steve Sheehan (21); 24. Michael J. Johnson (20); 25. Daniel Pope II (19); 26. Richie Davidowitz (19); 27. Richard Towler (18); 28. Kevin King (18); 29. Paul Kusheba (15); 30. Justin Thompson (14).

31. Thomas Lewandowski (13); 32. Landon Harrison (12); 33. Jon Adams (11); 34. Alex Warren (10); 35. John Gorlinsky (9); 36. Joshua Laughton (8); 37. Robert Hall (7); 38. Patrick Baldwin (6); 39. Josh Parker* (5); 40. Derek Wood (4).

41. Thomas Hazard (3); 42. Connor Mackenzie* (2); 43. Andrew Fayash III* (1).

* DNF

STANDINGS

1. Jeremy R Allen (Behind); 2. Michael Conti (-2); 3. Brian Schoenburg (-14); 4. Tyler D. Hudson (-18); 5. Ray Alfalla (-20); 6. Marcus Lindsey (-20); 7. Carson McClelland (-24); 8. Richie Davidowitz (-25); 9. Pedro Mojica (-28); 10. Richard Towler (-29).

11. Cyril Nousbaum (-29); 12. Brad Davies (-34); 13. Robert Hall (-35); 14. Thomas Lewandowski (-36); 15. Michael J. Johnson (-37); 16. Patrick Fogel (-37); 17. Charles Cosper (-38); 18. Bryan Blackford (-38); 19. Nick Ottinger (-38); 20. Daniel Pope II (-38).

21. John Gorlinsky (-39); 22. Patrick Baldwin (-39); 23. Paul Kusheba (-39); 24. Byron Daley (-40); 25. Brad Wright (-44); 26. Chris Main (-45); 27. Matt Whitten (-46); 28. Kevin King (-48); 29. Joshua Laughton (-50); 30. Chad Coleman (-51).

31. Brandon Buchberger (-52); 32. Landon Harrison (-53); 33. Vinnie Sansone (-56); 34. Jake Stergios (-59); 35. Thomas Hazard (-60); 36. Steve Sheehan (-60); 37. Connor Mackenzie (-60); 38. Justin Thompson (-61); 39. Josh Berry (-61); 40. Andrew Fayash III (-61).

41. Josh Parker (-66); 42. Alex Warren (-67); 43. Jon Adams (-67); 44. Chris Overland (-70); 45. Josh Connors (-78); 46. Derek Wood (-80); 47. Florian Godard (-82); 48. Jean Costa (-83).