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King wins chaotic Dover iRacing event

July 11, 2012, Jason Lofing, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Patrick Baldwin (No. 52) led a race-high 77 laps before late race contact dropped him to a seventh-place finish. (iRacing.com)

Earlier this season's NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship, Kevin King (San Diego, Calif.) looked poised for a win at Phoenix before contact on a restart late in the race sent him spinning from contention. This time at Dover, there was no late-race drama and King capitalized on the opportunity to grab his first NiSWC victory of 2012. King started from the pole, kept his nose clean, worked his way back to the front after making an early final pit stop and pulled away from the field after teammate Patrick Baldwin (Torrington, Conn.) suffered damage to his Chevy Impala.

"The car was an absolute rocket ship, and once I lost all the spots on pit road I knew it would be a bit tough, but I just tried to be there if they made a mistake and it paid off," King said. "I managed to get the pole -- which was a surprise -- and I was pretty excited for the race. I hate that Pat got small damage that destroyed his car. We were going to have a nice battle for the win I think, and although seventh isn't what he wanted it's still a good finish."

Jon Adams (Hiram, Ga.) finished second after leading 60 laps. While he was strong all day, he could not keep up with King on the long run as Adams' car was too loose off the corners. Nick Ottinger (Claremont, N.C.) finished just behind Adams in third, NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series driver Jason Karlavige (Scranton, Pa.) finished a very impressive fourth and point leader Ray Alfalla (Cape Coral, Fla.) rounded-out the top five, continuing an extremely consistent defense of his 2011 title.

Brian Schoenburg (Moorpark, Calif.) rebounded from an early pit road miscue to finish sixth ahead of Baldwin who somehow finished seventh despite damage after having had the dominant car much of the race. Michael Conti (Woodland Park, N.J.), Byron Daley (Bronx, N.Y.) and Thomas Lewandowski (Buffalo, N.Y.) finished off the top 10.

The first half of the race was filled with yellows, as drivers struggled with grip on the track known as the Monster Mile. Eight cautions slowed the field for 32 of the first 103 laps. As always at Dover, single-car accidents are rare due to the steep banking in both the corners and straightaways. This led to many crashes claiming multiple cars, which thinned the field. Only 22 of the 40 starters were within two laps of the leader at the finish.

The race appeared to be Baldwin's to lose as he built a healthy lead once the field restarted for the final time at Lap 104. However, he had problems getting around a lapped car, nearly spun, and made slight contact with King, damaging his car while King escaped unscathed. This allowed King to build a lead that proved to be insurmountable

King did have a tense moment when he had to pit for fuel under green, as many cars had 15 to 20 laps more fuel on board. Had another caution occurred before these drivers pitted a final time, King's chances for the win would have been dealt a setback, but everyone made it on and off pit road without incident and the yellow never came out.

The win helped King gain on those in front of him in the championship hunt. Alfalla continues to lead the points, holding a comfortable 20 point cushion on Conti. Ottinger gained a bit of ground with his third-place effort, but is still 41 points back of the lead. Although King is still fourth, he trimmed his margin to Alfalla to 56 points, while Baldwin completes the top five, 85 points behind.

As usual, the Monster Mile produced fierce racing. Here Ray Alfalla and Jon Adams battle for the lead ahead of Kevin King and Nick Ottinger. (iRacing.com)

Week 12 of the season brings a unique challenge: Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The flat, 2.5-mile oval was not built with stock cars in mind, yet has been the site of some great online racing the past two seasons in the NiSWC. Alfalla was strong at The Brickyard last year, so it is up to the rest of the contenders to make sure he does not extend his already comfortable lead. With only six races remaining in the 2012 season, time is running out for those sim-racers who would dethrone the champion.