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Gilliland wins NASCAR iRacing.com opener

March 13, 2013, Jason Lofing, NASCAR.com

Gilliland beats Crawford, Huffman at Daytona to start 2013 season

Adam Gilliland held-off Jared Crawford in a door-to-door battle to the checkered flag as the field wrecked behind them to win the season opener of the 2013 NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship at Daytona International Speedway. The win is Gilliland’s first victory in just five career NiSWC starts. “I had an amazing car in both qualifying trim and race trim.  I can’t thank (teammates) Matt Whitten and John Ritchey enough,” said Gilliland.

The series debut of the Gen-6 Chevrolet SS and Ford Fusion came down to a one lap shootout with Gilliland on the inside line being pushed by Tyler Hudson and Crawford on the outside pushed by Brad Davies. Gilliland looked to be the odd man out against teammates Crawford and Hudson after losing his teammate Whitten to an accident earlier in the race.

Hudson’s Ford quickly pushed Gilliland out to a half-car lead, with Crawford and Davies holding strong on the outside. Things started to get interesting when Hudson lost contact with Gilliland in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 coming to the checkers. This gave Crawford a big run coming off of Turn 4, which Gilliland barely blocked. Davies tried to take advantage by shooting the gap in the middle but got turned sideways which triggered a massive crash.

Even after being blocked, Crawford still had enough momentum to get alongside Gilliland, but ran out of racetrack as the two Chevies crossed the stripe.

Crawford finished just .020 seconds back in second with only a nose separating him from victory lane. Landon Huffman slid across the line for third, Matt Bussa came home forth and Brandon Kettelle finished fifth.

The evening started off with an extremely tight and surprising qualifying session which saw Whitten and Alex Warren sharing the front row.  The entire field was separated by just .053 seconds. Last year’s Daytona pole winner Thomas Lewandowski started way back in thirty-first with two-time NiSWC defending champion Ray Alfalla rolling-off a lowly thirty-seventh.

Even more shocking was the fact that last year’s championship runner-up, Michael Conti, failed to qualify, dealing a damaging blow to his championship hopes.

The action started early when outside pole sitter Warren spun on Lap Six, collecting Alfalla in the process. Alfalla had looked very strong in the early going, moving up quickly from his starting spot before the crash.  The two-time defending series champion had to settle for a forty-second place finish and, like Conti, has basically already used-up his “drop week” in the scoring.

"I had an amazing car in both qualifying trim and race trim.  I can’t thank (teammates) Matt Whitten and John Ritchey enough."

-- Adam Gilliland

After the restart on Lap 10, the next 60 laps were run under the green flag. With 90 laps remaining on the restart, many drivers thought they could potentially make it on fuel by splitting the online race into two 45 lap runs. Gilliland and Whitten, however, needed another caution and it looked for awhile that they would not get one. The racing was fairly calm throughout the pack despite 37 lead changes.

The two leaders finally got their yellow on Lap 70 when Steve Sheehan spun and hit the wall. This allowed Gilliland and Whitten to pit for the fuel they needed without losing touch with the pack, though they would have to fight back through the field.

When the green dropped again the two-some wasted no time in driving right back to the front.  It looked like the race was going to come down between the two of them, but Whitten was involved in a multi-car wreck on Lap 87 when Patrick Baldwin got a little too aggressive with the side drafting down the back straightaway.

This left Gilliland to fend for himself as the racing got very intense up front.  A couple times, the lead pack was three wide for multiple rows including the battle for the lead. Things got crazy again on Lap 95 when Kettelle scrubbed the wall and got sideways in Turn 3, sending John Gorlinsky, Brian Schoenburg and others spinning and crashing. This set up the one lap dash to the checkers that saw Gilliland nose-out Crawford.

With Daytona in the rear view mirror drivers are left to regroup and move on to next week’s race Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With 1.5 mile tracks making up the bulk of the 18 race schedule, Vegas will be a great barometer as to which cars are strong and who needs to work more on setups.

While Gilliland, Crawford and the rest of the top five finishers at Daytona are off to a fast start, others such as Alfalla and Conti desperately need to right the ship before they dig themselves to deep a hole. Make sure to tune into iRacing Live and MRN.com next Tuesday night at 9 pm eastern to catch who strikes it rich in Sin City!



Fin Pos Driver Start Pos Car # Interval Laps Led Average Lap Time Fastest Lap Time Fast Lap# Laps Comp Pts Status
1 Adam Gilliland 3 81 0 40 57.171 43.607 93 100 48 Running
2 Jared Crawford 15 83 -0.02 7 57.159 43.605 93 100 43 Running
3 Landon Huffman 35 75 -0.331 0 57.135 43.592 93 100 41 Running
4 Matt Bussa 23 34 -0.344 0 57.15 43.621 93 100 40 Running
5 Brandon Kettelle 17 80 -0.35 0 57.16 43.687 76 100 39 Running
6 Tyler D Hudson 19 1 -0.406 6 57.158 43.721 22 100 39 Running
7 Jon Adams 33 84 -0.512 0 57.141 43.578 93 100 37 Running
8 Peter Bennett 26 69 -0.622 0 57.151 43.588 93 100 36 Running
9 Derek Crone 6 7 -0.72 0 56.975 43.52 77 100 35 Running
10 Chad Coleman 7 28 -0.808 0 57.173 43.699 93 100 34 Running
11 Andrew Fayash III 42 77 -0.865 0 57.135 43.716 93 100 33 Running
12 Carson McClelland 10 24 -0.87 0 57.171 43.748 93 100 32 Running
13 Brandon Schmidt 39 3 -1 0 57.134 43.594 93 100 31 Running
14 Brad Davies 18 11 -1.042 0 56.727 43.714 76 100 30 Running
15 Jason Karlavige 12 60 -1.151 5 57.171 43.581 93 100 30 Running
16 Landon Harrison 43 89 -1.313 0 57.132 43.811 80 100 28 Running
17 Casey Malone 16 92 -1.366 0 57.17 43.831 78 100 27 Running
18 Matt Whitten 1 18 -1.406 20 57.187 43.62 77 100 27 Running
19 Philipp Geiss 28 66 -1.604 0 57.288 43.763 20 100 25 Running
20 Byron Daley 22 93 -1.821 0 57.167 43.758 78 100 24 Running
21 Carson Downs 34 97 -1.883 0 57.154 43.666 77 100 23 Running
22 Michael J Johnson 32 39 -2.22 0 57.161 43.486 79 100 22 Running
23 Robert Hall 21 30 -3.02 2 57.181 43.737 77 100 22 Running
24 Brian Schoenburg 36 55 -5.154 0 57.184 43.569 94 100 20 Running
25 Chad J Laughton 20 26 -5.826 0 55.651 43.529 92 100 19 Running
26 Patrick Baldwin 5 52 -5.837 10 57.447 43.698 76 100 19 Running
27 Joshua Laughton 29 40 -6.684 0 57.206 43.229 94 100 17 Running
28 Kevin King 14 29 -7.187 0 57.186 43.229 94 100 16 Running
29 Cody Byus 4 27 -7.659 0 57.245 43.379 93 100 15 Running
30 Nick Ottinger 13 5 -8.229 0 57.243 43.648 77 100 14 Running
31 Marcus Lindsey 11 1 -1 L 0 57.732 43.93 91 99 13 Running
32 Alex Ciambrone 40 2 -1 L 0 56.667 43.451 80 99 12 Running
33 Steve Sheehan 27 6 -3 L 1 59.55 43.529 2 97 12 Running
34 Joey Brown 9 12 -3 L 0 57.057 44.009 2 97 10 Running
35 John Gorlinsky 41 21 -5 L 1 54.751 43.548 83 95 10 Running
36 Dustin Montgomery 25 8 -6 L 0 56.886 43.532 80 94 8 Running
37 Josh Berry 30 91 -6 L 0 56.474 43.535 78 94 7 Running
38 Alex Warren 2 82 -9 L 0 01:01.6 44.215 3 91 6 Running
39 Richard Dusett 8 96 -10 L 2 54.533 43.794 82 90 6 Running
40 Danny Hansen 38 20 -13 L 0 56.071 43.729 77 87 4 Running
41 Thomas Lewandowski 31 16 -15 L 1 52.189 43.533 81 85 4 Running
42 Ray Alfalla 37 2 -16 L 0 01:08.0 43.495 2 84 2 Running
43 Paul Kusheba 24 32 -36 L 5 49.982 43.663 2 64 2 Disconnected




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